Thursday’s clash with Murfreesboro in the Lady Leopard Classic will be the first game for first year for De Queen senior girls coach Paul Dean.

“Right now, we’ve done everything we can do for those things we know we need to work on,” he said. “There will be things we don’t know we need to work on until we play some games.”

There are 16 Lady Leopards on the roster. There were practices over the summer, but the intensity increased with the opening of the school year. “I want to give everybody an equal opportunity. We have been going since August and going hard. We are striving to get better in every aspect of the game,” Dean said.

In addition to two games in the Classic, the Lady Leopards will play six more times before conference play begins Dec. 14 when Arkadelphia will visit Leopard Arena. Most of the 7AAAA competition is unknown at this point. “We saw Bismarck this summer. They are pretty good. Mena traditionally is pretty good,” the coach said.

Hope, which moves to 7AAAA with De Queen, played the Lady Leopards closer last season than in years past. It’s a given that Nashville will be very athletic. Malvern is a mystery as is Arkadelphia.

“I’m excited for the year,” the new coach said, “and I know the girls are ready to play.”

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