• 2009-10 record: 20-8
• Coach: Caleb King, 3rd year, 42-13.
• District: 8-1A
• Last state appearance: 2010, lost to Tatum in second round
• State titles: 1992, 1975
• Top returning players: Kelli Merrick, F, 6-3, Sr.; Jessica Fierro, G, 5-8, Jr.; Jasi Roberts, G, 5-8, So.; Stormie McBride, G, 5-0, Sr.
• Top newcomers: Aubrey Butler, F, 5-10, Jr.; Averi Skelley, F, 5-9, So.; Deserai Haraughty, F, 5-7, Sr.
• Outlook: The Coyotes’ chances of returning to the state tournament revolve around the talents of senior post Kelli Merrick, a two-time all-state player. “Merrick is a versatile player and is the best inside player in the state,” Dora coach Caleb King said. “She uses her height really well and is a good shooter. She can shoot 3-pointers really well. She averages around 15 rebounds and five blocks a game.” Junior guard Jessica Fierro and sophomore guard Jasi Roberts will try to keep defenses honest with their 3-point shooting. King expects help up front for Merrick from junior forward Aubrey Butler, sophomore forward Averi Skelley and senior Deserai Haraughty. “Butler is a good physical post player who can get inside on defenses and score a basket,” King said. “Skelley is a hard worker who is able to get rebounds on defense. Haraughty is a fast player and a good defender and probably our best.”
King said the challenge facing the team is getting them used to making quick decisions for the players who were on junior varsity last season.
• Litmus test: The EPAC tournament. The Coyotes made it to the semifinals and finished third in the tournament last year. “The EPAC tournament will really show us where the team is at,” King said.
• Of note: The Coyotes are ranked fifth in the preseason coaches poll, one spot behind defending state champion Floyd and above district foes Tatum (7th) and Jal (8th). Cliff is the preseason No. 1.
— Compiled by Clarence Plank