At the conclusion of both the boys and girls practices Wednesday, each team had several holdovers.

At the conclusion of both the boys and girls practices Wednesday, each team had several holdovers.

Junior varsity boys joined the girls just before practice ended. Each team emphasized both full-court press offense and defense using multiple schemes. By utilizing the skills and toughness of the boys team, the girls are able to simulate actual competition.

"It's nice to go against new people and to beat and bang against someone else," girls coach Brittany Matlock said. "[The boys] are quicker and more aggressive so it helps a lot.

Because of the fresh competition, the intensity of the entire practice has elevated, especially while working on a new-look offense against a tough boys' defense in a half court session.

"We're trying some new stuff this year," Matlock said. "Our timing isn't there, but hopefully it'll get better."

Fundamentals such as pick and roll schemes and rebounding we also themes throughout the girls' practice, and something Matlock said is tough to squeeze into preparing for Monday's game at St. James.

At the boys practice, Coach Chris Pilz said practice has gone well throughout the week. The student have been athletes have been "focused," but Pilz said, "You can tell them all you want in practice, but a lot of times you've got to get some game action."

Even at the conclusion of boys' practice, some of the varsity players stayed after for Pilz's tutelage. Several of the student-athletes practiced the half court offense to close in on perfection before ending with a 15-minute free shooting session.

While the offensive execution is far from five-star, the post play has improved from a year ago.

"We had no low post game at all last year," Pilz said.

This year, because of the roster's depth, as well as height and strength, the coach believes his unit will be able to feed the ball to its big men.

"If we can get the ball on the block and score or get fouled, it can be a huge advantage," Pilz said.

The athletic guards add stability and speed to the power game.

The boys team will take on Glendale, last year's Ozark Conference champion, at home on Monday.

"We're just going to play," Pilz said. "Early in the year you can win games if you play hard and play tough."

Pilz said his team has a great chance to outplay their competition next week.

The boys team will scrimmage Friday night starting with the freshmen and junior varsity teams at 6 p.m. Varsity will take the court at approximately 6:30 p.m.