Injuries and a tough district slate took their toll on Dublin's girls basketball season last year.
The district won't be any easier, but head coach Randy Parks certainly hopes the Lady Lions' health will be when they begin league play this year.
Dublin is more experienced than in recent seasons, especially with the return of a pair of second-team all-district picks in post Kim Spivey and guard Cayla Beck, both seniors. Wakely Brown is another senior and will change positions from wing to high post, and Kendra Cannon gives the Lady Lions another senior guard.
Mariah Reeder is a junior who was a key at guard last season, while classmate Kelsey Frost is also back.
"We're more experienced than we have been, we just need to stay healthy," said Parks, who noted some players have just come back from volleyball. "We have some (girls) who have been on the varsity since they were freshmen and have good experience and athleticism."
The Lady Lions scrimmaged Cisco Thursday at Dublin's Roy and Lynn Neff Gymnasium.
"It was pretty even throughout," Parks said. "We played five quarters and the last quarter was our best. We got rid of our nerves and started working better with one another and running our offense better."
The Lady Lions also scrimmaged Meridian at home Saturday.
Dublin opens regular-season play at home against Lipan Tuesday and will also battle tough foes such as Eastland and Goldthwaite early on in preparation for what Parks and other are coaches are calling a brutal District 6-2A.
Three league teams are ranked in the top 20 by the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches, with San Saba listed at No. 16, Bangs at No. 17 and Hico at No. 20. Early reached the regional tournament last season and Comanche and Hamilton are both traditional powers.
Parks agrees the biennial UIL realignment didn't do his club any favors.
"They moved out one of the weaker teams in Brady and added two tough ones in Hico and Hamilton," said Parks. "It's going to be tough every night no matter who you play."