BY JIM STEELE
It’s no secret that district and regional play among Weakley County girls’ basketball teams can be a perilous place.
For example, in 2018, Dresden and Greenfield each qualified for state, but an equally-qualified Gleason team was relegated to spectator status after succumbing to Dresden in the 7AA semifinals. Meanwhile, Greenfield hammered Memphis Business Academy 65-33 in a game that wasn’t as close as the score.
Oh, by the way, Greenfield, the eventual state champ, lost to Gleason 47-46 in the district championship that same year.
The year 2022 is no different. In case you hadn’t heard, three teams from Weakley County will converge on Murfreesboro this week, including the Dresden Lady Lions.
Dresden will make its first journey to the Glass House since 2018. That feat, to the outsider, might draw some curious looks, considering Dresden sputtered through a 7-14 campaign a year ago.
What a turnaround Dresden made to get back to state. The Lady Lions had to get past Greenfield for that elusive substate berth. Greenfield is one of those qualified Weakley teams sitting at home this March.
Dresden had to tangle with its rival from down the road, Gleason, four times this year. The two teams split those four games, Gleason winning the regional championship.
Dresden enters its state quarterfinal bout with Van Buren County with a 23-9 mark.
The Lady Lions’ transformation began as soon as the curtain fell on last season. The girls got in the gym and hit over 140,000 shots. Some of the players went to elite camps to hone their skills.
As a result, Dresden averaged nearly 60 points per game while holding opponents to 36.5 percent shooting, 24 percent from the three-point line.
The Lady Lions pulled down over 25 rebounds per game, shot 44.3 percent from the floor, handed out 14.3 assists and collected 11.9 steals per game.
It kind of helps that Dresden coach Jonathan West has two former head coaches as assistants in Steve Jaco and Robert Browning.
Dresden will have its work cut out, given it’s in the same side of the draw as Wayne County.
If somewhere along the way Dresden stumbles, there is a silver lining: there are no seniors on this year’s team. Dresden starts four juniors and a sophomore. Off the bench are two freshmen and a junior.
The future looks very bright for Dresden.