Lady Bulldogs jump out to hot start this season - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Lady Bulldogs jump out to hot start this season

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HARRISBURG -- Starting off the season on a positive note is something teams strive for to make their presence felt early, and after starting the season 8-0, that presence is definitely felt coming out of Harrisburg.

"We knew starting this season that we were going to be a talented group of girls, and we knew we had a chance to beat a lot of teams this year, so coming into the season, playing Mt Vernon, a 3A team, beating them was like, 'Okay, we're getting into this'," said Jessica Hopson, Harrisburg senior shooting guard.

If their record isn't impressive enough, the Lady Bulldogs have outscored their opponents by an average of 32 points this season. That efficiency comes from years of playing as a unit, and learning to play a selfless game.

"We kind of mesh well together. The past years, the teams have always been like an 'I' team instead of like an 'Us' team," said Lotte Miller, Harrisburg senior point guard.

"We know what that person is thinking, like I'm going to backdoor here, or I'm going to cut there. We just all bond together, and we connect as a team," said Hopson.

It's been almost thirty years since a Lady Bulldogs team has jumped out to as hot of a start, giving the team a little extra motivation to break the school record.

"We have a picture up in our locker room, and it's from 1989, and we always tell the kids if they can break the school record of 26 wins, we'll take that picture down and replace it with yours," said Jake Stewart, Harrisburg girls basketball coach.

Despite the hype around this year's squad, Hopson and the Lady Bulldogs are trying to stay grounded as they continue on into the season.

"Every halftime, Coach Stewart comes in and says they can do this, and they can do this, and they can be y'all. He never just straight up says you guys are going to win. It's always that... He puts that down our minds, that we can lose, every game," said Hopson.

The Lady Bulldogs will look to make it 9-0 as they play host to the Murphysboro Lady Devils Thursday.

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