By LINDSEY WOOD
After serving as teacher and basketball coach at Estill County Middle School for twelve years and assistant basketball coach at Estill County High School for fourteen years, Ms. Ruth Hughes will replace Brian Hall as the head coach of the high school girls’ basketball team.
Last year, the Lady Engineers finished with a regular season record of 18-10 and were district runners-up in postseason play. This year, Coach Hughes hopes to build on that success. She expained, “We would like to win twenty games, win the district tournament, and go further in the regional tournament.”
Coach Hughes has worked with this particular group of athletes for many years; in fact, she coached what is now the junior class in middle school when they won the eighth grade conference championship. When asked how the team has evolved since that time, Coach Hughes said, “They have gotten a whole lot better defensively, especially with man-to-man defense. In middle school, we played a lot of zone because we weren’t that good at guarding man-to-man, but overall, they are just a lot better defensively. They’ve also improved their shooting. And they’re stronger— which is big.”
Coach Hughes has a lot of emotions going into her first season as head coach. She described feeling “excited, and extremely nervous. There’s always those first game feelings of nervousness. Its not going to be your best game. For us, we are still gelling two new, very good players in our team, but we’re are excited to learn to play together— maybe even too excited. Anyway, what you want to do is build on your first game; you want to get better with every game.”
The girls play their first game on Tuesday, November 28 at 7:30 p.m. in a home competition against Model. Following this, they face Menifee County away on November 30 and Hazard away on December 2.
As Coach Hughes reflected on what this program means to her and what she would like to achieve going forward, she said, “It’s been a long time since we’ve cut down any nets. We want to end the drought!”