UPHS basketball preparing for season

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Union Farmers and Lady Farmers basketball are back on the court and preparing for their Nov. 16 season opener hosting D’Arbonne Woods Charter.

Second-year coach Derion Gipson has a couple of senior returners in Dylan Harris and Tyon Wallace, and it will be important to lean on that senior leadership early as the team continues to adjust to his up-tempo, pressure defensive style.

Gipson took over mid-season for Farmerville legend Johnny Simmons who retired. One thing that has the young coach excited is that the core of the team worked out all summer together.

“We had a good summer and we have nine guys returning,” Gipson said. “The guys had to make some adjustments with the differences in my system. I think football being later in the year could impact us. We will have to wait for those guys but I hope they go win state. It does affect us with depth.”

Junior point guard Deion Gipson, the son of the coach, returns, as does sophomore Trey Holley, and sophomore Damien Walters.

The Farmers made the playoffs in 2020 as the No. 25 seed with a 10- 16 record after a brutal District 2-3A schedule – one of the toughest basketball districts in Louisiana.

“It is a great district,” Gipson said. “I am trying to get my guys to realize the level at which you must play in this district.”

Melanie Tettleton is now head coach of the Lady Farmers, after Gipson coached them for three years before making the move to the boys team.

Seniors Shaynia Thomas and Carla Capetillo will be counted on as leaders as well as sophomore captain Alecia Butler.

“We have a lot of speed,” Tettleton said.

“Speed and chemistry are some strengths of this team.”

While Tettleton admitted the district is a great district and the games are “fun to play,” the Lady Farmers are looking to improve their offense to be even more competitive this season.

“We had a lot of issues against man defense,” Tettleton said. “We are working on that.”