Sylvan Hills Lady Bears’ head coach Shelly Davis decided to do something she hadn’t done in quite some time. She decided to take the ninth grade Lady Bears under her wing.

"I hadn’t coached both teams in a long time," Davis said, "so it was kind of different."

Davis said the purpose was to work toward building her program from the ground up by implementing her style of play at the eighth and ninth grade level. One could say she got some instant results.

The ninth grade team, a squad with just eight players, finished 15-2 and won their conference title.

The reason for such an outstanding record has been their defense. Davis has implemented a pressuring style that she said has worked well thanks to four guards that have played well all season.

DaBria Thompson is the shooter of the bunch, and has even got an abbreviated look in the final regular season game against Jacksonville.

"She scored five points in a minute of play," Davis said.

Thompson hit a three and a pair of foul shots in her brief audition. The freshman starting point guard has moved up to back up senior high starter Jessica Brasfield, who is starting for the injured K.K. Fulton.

Davis has two more in her four-guard lineup that she said are outstanding defensively. Madison Shelton and DaNazshia Mathis, according to Davis, "are like little waterbugs."

If the records are any indications, two losses by the ninth and just four by the eighth grade squad plus a state tournament appearance for the first time in three seasons by the senior high group means that the Lady Bears are definitely on the upswing.