Cedar Creek hoops schedules released

Senior Allie Furr will take over the point guard responsibilities for the Lady Cougars this season.

by Malcolm Butler

Fresh off the program’s first ever appearance in the LHSAA state title game, head coach Gene Vandenlangenberg and the Lady Cougars will open the 2022-23 regular season on Nov. 10 with a road trip to West Ouachita.

Vandenlangenberg, the 2021-22 Lincoln Parish Journal Girls Basketball Coach of the Year, returns some key pieces of last year’s team but must overcome some losses to graduation as well.

Meanwhile, the Cougars enter this coming season under the direction of new head coach Lance Waldron and will open their regular season on Nov. 17 with a home game against Sterlington.

The Creek boys will return the vast majority of last year’s roster, but as usual, must wait until the Cougars football season is over to have all of their weapons on the hardwood.

Both coaches are excited about the fact basketball is right around the corner. Vandenlangenberg knows that with the graduation of two key starters from last year’s team that it could take a little time for this year’s group to completely jell.

“I am excited about this year’s group,” said Vandenlangenberg. “It is going to take us some time to figure out our identity as a team. It will probably take us the early part of the season to figure it out, but I like this group and I think we may have a little more depth this year.

“We’ve been working hard in the preseason. We have been without our freshmen and sophomores since they have health class, but we will get them once we start team workouts Oct. 10. I’m looking forward to having them all out there.”

Waldron has spent the preseason working with the players he has and getting to know them and allowing them to get more familiar with his expectations.

“It’s been going really well,” said Waldron, who said he has 14 players in basketball PE right now while football is in its season. “We are working on fundamentals and hitting that hard. The guys are buying in, and that’s a big part of it. We still have a way to go, but the kids are understanding what we are looking for and that’s important.”

The Lady Cougars are coming off a 28-3 record and an appearance in the Division IV state title game where they fell to Southern Lab. Vandenlangenberg and Co. look to replace LPJ Girls Player of the Year and all-state selection Sarah Adams, who is now at ULM.

Senior Allie Furr, who earned all-Lincoln Parish Journal and all-district honors last year, is the top returner after averaging double digit in points and being one of the team leaders in numerous other statistical categories last year. A LA Tech softball commit, Furr will be leaned upon this year to provide additional leadership on the floor.

“I talked to Allie after last year ended,” said Vandenlangenberg. “She is obviously a really good athlete and knows what we want to do. She is going to move to point guard for us and will run the show. Allie played some point in middle school. She is excited about it and I am excited for her.

“Lillian Soto was coming back off a knee injury last year, and she has looked really good during the preseason. She looks strong in the post and is improving on her post moves. She has always been a good rebounder but I think she will provide even more for us offensively this year. I think we will have more depth this year.”

Waldron takes over a program that was 12-17 last season in the final year under Robert Mitcham. The Cougars qualified for the Division IV playoffs but fell 81-39 to Calvary Baptist in the first round.

He recorded a mark of 246-87 during his nine years at Simsboro (2006-2015), leading the program to six district titles, three appearances in the Top 28 and two state championship game appearances (2012, 2013).

Waldron said there are eight players currently playing varsity football, including Connor Norris, Carter Hill, Brian Osborne, Landon Hall, James Meyers, Jake Doan, Blake Robinson and Alex Simpson. Although he is anxious to have his entire roster once the varsity football season comes to a conclusion, Waldron said he is utilizing the time with the players he currently does have.

“Matt (Middleton) and I have been working really well together,” said Waldron. “The football team has won two games in a row, and we are cheering for those guys to continue to succeed. It’s giving us a lot of time to spend with the 14 we have now, more individual time with some of these younger guys. It will help us build more depth which will be important as our season progresses. This time right now is very important for us.”

The first official team practice for both teams is Oct. 10.

The full schedule is below.

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