When describing her team one week ago, White Pine High School girl’s basketball coach Krystal Smith focused on one word, speed. Five preseason victories from last weekend’s tournament later, Smith said she has found a new highlight for the Ladycats.

Defense.

“I was most impressed by our defensive effort. We gave up less than 100 points in our five games. Giving up less than an average of 20 points per game is awesome,” Smith said.

Though the games won’t count toward their regular season record, the Ladycats dominated their opponents in the Serpent Classic Tournament held in Hawthorne over the weekend. The team defeated fellow division teams Battle Mountain 51-26, Yerington 42-21, Lincoln 42-26, as well as the smaller division team Virginia City 40-10 and larger division team Dayton 50-16.

According to coach Smith, the Ladycats aforementioned speed enabled the team to apply more pressure on defense, which led to game-changing steals and rebounds.

“We had tons of steals by having active and quick hands,” the coach said.

One of the major contributors to the team’s defensive intensity was first-year varsity starter Haylee Andre. Smith pointed to Andre as an example of the kind of quickness the team possesses. For Andre, she was just happy to contribute in her first game on varsity.

“In the games, I think I did pretty well for my first games on varsity. I didn’t force as many passes as I thought I might and overall thought I saw the floor pretty well,” she said.

The junior varsity squad that Andre played on last year also looked good in their three preseason games as well, defeating Pershing County 25-14, Fernley 30-19 and Wooster 17-14. According to the junior varsity Ladycats coach Susan Jensen, the varsity team aren’t the only team that played solid defense over the weekend.

“Throughout the tournament I thought the team played well defensively. ShuRee Finicum and Maryn VanTassel both did a good job picking up rebounds,” Jensen said. “I feel like defensively we are further ahead than we were last year

The varsity Ladycats will look to continue their aggressive defensive play as they begin their regular season on the road at Mountain View Chistian on Dec. 12 at 6 p.m. and again at Lake Mead Christian Academy on Dec. 13 at 12:30 p.m. Due to the lack of junior varsity teams in the southern Nevada division, the junior varsity Ladycats will compete in a tournament in Battle Mountain over the weekend.