So, it's going to take a few games for the 2008 version to come together as a team.
Two physical games against the Lady Redskins in Pocahontas and Mountain View in the Lyon College Invitational was a great way for Highland to 'grow up as a basketball team' as Lady Rebel Head Coach Harlan Davis would say.
Even though they lost both games, the Lady Rebs were able to overcome a deficit and have a chance at the end.
Pocahontas made the last shot to beat Highland 44-43 on Dec. 2, and the Lady Yellowjackets knocked the Lady Rebels out of the Lyon College tourney with a 60-55 first-round win.
The Rebels had the week off because Osceola and Newport had important state playoff football games to prepare for. Both teams lost in the semi-finals and can now move on to basketball with the rest of the 3-4A conference. The Osceola game hasn't been rescheduled (as of press time), but the Newport game was moved to Dec. 16.
The Lady Rebels came into the Lyon College tourney hit by sickness and injury.
Senior Kristen Ellis was out sick.
Alison Price wasn't feeling well, but was able to play, and junior Stephanie Shaw tried to play with a bad ankle, but couldn't go very long.
Davis relied heavily on sophomores Bobie Jo Cooper and Whitney Davis and Kristina Langston started in place of Ellis.
Highland struggled against the Lady Jackets in the first quarter, as they couldn't find an answer to Caitlin Holt's 10 points, accented by two treys.
The Lady Rebs also seemed out of sorts as they gave up several turnovers, including two double-dribble calls.
Price hit a 3 of her own at the end of the quarter to cut the Mountain View lead to 25-11.
Finally able to get the ball to an open Alex Isaacs, Highland started to gel.
Isaacs' 11 second-quarter points helped to tie the game with just a few seconds left in the half.
Holt's near-half court buzzer shot banked in to give the Lady Yellowjackets a 32-29 lead.
It took until the 5:30 mark in the third for the Lady Rebs to get a bucket, but Highland scored on almost every possession after that, outscoring Mountain View 13-11 to cut the score to 43-42.
In the fourth, Highland tied the score once and took the lead twice.
Cooper gave them the lead 55-54 with just over two minutes left in the game.
They couldn't score again until Kaitlin Scribner drove the length of the court for a layup.
She would also add a couple of free throws with seconds left.
However, it was just too late.
The Lady Jackets hit enough of their free throws to seal the win.
Isaacs led Highland with 20 points, followed by Price with 15. Cooper and Scribner had six each.
Coach Davis remarked that although the girls learned a lot in this game, not getting a chance to play the great competition this tournament offers is unfortunate.
The Lady Rebels won this tournament last year with a win against Cave City in the championship game.
Highland stuck closely to Pocahontas throughout the game, but played from behind practically the entire game.
The Lady Rebs had short-lived leads in the second and fourth quarters.
Price nailed a 3-pointer with 45 seconds left to tie the game at 43-all.
The Lady Redskins ran out the clock until Alex Sheets drove for the layup.
Isaacs blocked the shot but was also called for the foul with 4.9 seconds on the clock. Sheets missed the first free throw, but nailed the second.
Price's last second shot was off the mark.
Pocahontas led the first quarter 10-8, the second 17-14 and the third 34-31.
Price led Highland with 13 points and Isaacs had nine. Ellis and Shaw added seven apiece.