The Bradwell Institute Lady Tigers have not made the basketball playoffs since the 2012-13 season. However, with a new region of only five teams, their confidence is at an all-time high.
The Lady Tigers finished 2015-16 with a 13-13 record and a first-round loss in the Region 3-AAAAA tournament. They hope to translate that successful .500 season, their second in a row, into an even bigger season this year.
The Tigers now play in Region 2-AAAAAA with some familiar faces joining them in moving up a classification. But with only four other teams standing in their way of the state playoffs instead of nine, head coach Faye Baker feels this team has a good chance to make a run at the postseason, but they want to first focus on getting back into basketball shape.
“Hopefully we will be hungry and want to end the streak of not making it to the state playoffs,” she said. “We are not setting our sights on that as of yet. We are focused on getting into basketball form with a limited amount of time before our first game. We are only looking as far as our upcoming opponent.”
Their upcoming opponent is cross-town rival Liberty County on Saturday. The Lady Tigers have not lost to their rivals since Feb. 1, 2014.
The Tigers do have to deal with the loss of four seniors from the 2015-16 season as Journae Young, DaShe Nicholson, Brianna Johnson and Autiana Hightower all graduated. They return two seniors, but Baker knows her young players will be willing to step up this year.
“We only have two seniors on our squad. Alyssa McDuffie, who has played in our system for four years, and Ashanti Harris, who transferred here at the end of her sophomore year. These two will be our leaders. But we have a vast amount of younger players that we feel will contribute as well,” Baker said.
The Lady Tigers look to keep their focus and end their four-year state playoff drought, but Baker talked about how taking it one game at a time will help them stay on track toward the goal for the postseason.
Saturday’s tipoff is slated for a 6 p.m at Bradwell.