Last year, a young Bradwell Institute girls’ basketball team managed an 8-18 overall record and a 6-8 Region 3-AAAAA mark as Wayne County eliminated the Lady Tigers from the playoffs.
This year, BI coach Faye Baker has three starters and a total of 11 varsity players returning for the upcoming season, which starts next Friday when the Lady Tigers host Liberty County.
“We played summer-league ball and participated at various camps, one at Georgia Southern and one at Armstrong … we participated in a summer league in Swainsboro and we were pretty successful,” Baker said. “We didn’t win all of our games, but we won more than we lost. That, in itself, is an improvement for us.”
Javaughna Claridy, Brianna Johnson and Jakaria Fleming are returning starters. Baker said the other veterans all played considerable minutes last season as well.
The coach added that she’s happy with the players’ work ethics during their time away from the court.
“I am very pleased with the work that a lot of these kids put in over the summer and offseason,” she said. “They worked really hard on their game and training … they did everything we asked them to do … they got in the weight room and worked at getting stronger and faster. It is going to be interesting and exciting to see how this group does this year. I definitely know they will be an improved bunch of young ladies.”
The Lady Tigers lost to Effingham, Richmond Hill, Glynn and Coffee last season and split games with Ware County. This season, Statesboro and South Effingham are added to the region mix.
This year, instead of traveling to North Georgia, Macon or Gainesville, Florida, the Lady Tigers have opted to play in local tournaments such as the Camden County Thanksgiving Classic on Nov. 24-25 and the annual Joe Greene Tournament on Dec. 29-30 in Savannah.
Baker said the experience earned throughout the summer should improve BI’s overall record this year.
“At least, that is what we are shooting for … is to see different outcomes,” she said. “We took it on the chin a lot last year, but we were very young and had very inexperienced kids … something you can’t teach is experience.”
Next week, the Courier will preview of the Bradwell-Liberty game.