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April 4, 2014

Indians improve under Hushbeck

COMANCHE — The Comanche girls team were the opening act to the Comanche boys team’s headline performance, but lost in that fervor was the strides the Lady Indians had taken from last year.

Coach Sean Hushbeck was named the 2014 Duncan Banner All-Area girls coach because of a nine-win turnaround from last year. It was a program changer that built a foundation for future success from a program that went into the year expecting Jacob Hammond to be the main sports figure.

He deserved the recognition, but the girls team made news with a win at Velma-Alma, a Stephens County tournament final appearance and a playoff victory.

“It’s a testament to the girls and how hard they worked,” Hushbeck said. “It was just a lot of small factors added up to a large improvement.”

For a while, it looked like all the preseason talk about making improvement was just talk. The Lady Indians started off 2014 much like 2013, losing the first two games to Marlow and Davis. Then, the Indians started winning and didn’t stop.

They won five straight and 10 out of the next 14. This is for a team that had just two wins a year ago and returned much of the same group. Starting point guard sophomore Brianna Robinson said a lot of it was Hushbeck’s coaching.

“We came a long way,” Robinson said. “He really pushes us to do our best. He knows what he’s doing out there.”

Comanche’s defense was its main strength this season, especially its press. The Lady Indians held their opponent under 40 points in 10 of their 11 wins. On the other side of the court, they struggled. Comanche lacked a pure scorer and often had to rely on many players to get on the scoresheet. The leading scorer ended up being Payge Graham, one of the team’s four seniors.

When Comanche experienced a seven-game losing streak to end the season, mostly due to the offensive struggles, Graham said Hushbeck motivated the team by pointing out how far they had come from last year.

“He just told us that we’ve gone so much better, so why stop now,” Graham said.

That motivation led to the seniors winning their final game on their home court versus Riverside in the first round of the consolation regional bracket. It was a moment that Graham said she’ll never forget and for Hushbeck, a season that was much better than the previous two-win one.

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