Merkel girls basketball knocking off big teams


MERKEL, Texas - The Merkel Lady Badgers have impressed so far this season by taking down both Wylie and Cooper, and earning 13 wins total.

"It's given us a lot of confidence that we can compete with good talent, good athletes and well-coached teams," Merkel head coach Blake Manning said.

The Badgers have almost reached last season's victory mark of 17 before district play even begins.

Manning had been an assistant for five years at Merkel, but took over the program this season.

"Having a new head coach, having me step in, they've been around me. I've been here for a few years, but I think it gave a lot of trust between both me and them."

"It's a different game, but I definitely feel like he knows us because most of us have played for him," senior post Jasmine Evans said.

Merkel has another giant in its way with Friday's District 5-3A lid-lifter against the Jim Ned Lady Indians, who are ranked fifth in the state.

"It's going to be tough. It's going to be similar to when we played Wylie and Nazareth," said Manning. "These teams that are ranked, they're ranked for a reason. Maybe start off district 1-0, with a victory that people don't really think we should get."

"Definitely starting with a bang," said Evans. "It's going to be a very interesting game and I'm excited."

Friday's varsity game is at Merkel High School with a 6:30 p.m. scheduled tip-off.