Bradwell Institute girls’ basketball coach Faye Baker knows it’s going to be difficult for her team to repeat last year’s performance.
Without rebounder Quintunya Chapman and top scorer Mariah Maternik, Baker knows the Lady Tigers will find it tough to put together another 29-1 overall record and a perfect 16-0 Region 3-AAAAA record.
But Baker also knows she has a lot of talent returning this season.
Last year, Shaquoia “Coco” Crockett joined the squad after transferring from First Presbyterian Christian Academy. As a freshman, Crockett fit right into Baker’s system and averaged 13.1 points per game. Baker said she expects Crockett to continue that trend this season.
“She has a year of experience under her belt, so we are hoping that this year will be an even better season for her,” Baker said.
Also returning this season are Latisha Frasier, Brittany Terrell and Symone May. They averaged 3.1, 2.9 and 2.9 points per game respectively last year.
“Latisha played valuable minutes. Even though she wasn’t a starter, she played as many minutes as the starters did last year coming off the bench for us. We expect her to be a leader this year,” Baker said.
May and Terrell have a considerable amount of experience as well. Rounding out the returning players are Leitia Leitaua and Tiffany Johnson.
“We are looking for all those returning players to step up and lead our first-year varsity players this year,” Baker said, noting that her team still lacks height but makes up for it with speed.
“Our team complexion is very much like last season. … We still don’t have those big dominant centers, but we do have a lot of quickness,” she said. “Last year our strength was our guard play, our quickness and our ability to be able to pressure teams, and that is still our strength this year. We are going to try and pressure our opponents, wear them down and pressure them into making turnovers, which hopefully will translate into easy baskets for us.”
Baker said she has a few girls moving up from the junior varsity squad and everyone has hit the court running.
“They’ve been working hard and I’m very pleased with their work ethics in practice, and all I can really ask from them is to work hard to improve each day,” she said.
After her team marched unbeaten through the Region 3-AAAAA schedule last season, Baker expects BI to have a bull’s-eye on its back this winter.
As always, she expects Beach High to come at them full throttle.
“They’ve returned the nucleus of their team so you know they are going to be there when the smoke clears,” she said. “I’m looking for Windsor Forest to be in the thick of things this year. They were very competitive last year and they are returning the nucleus of their team back also.”
Baker said Camden is another well-coached team to watch out for.
“They started out a little slow last year, but they came on later in the season, so we can’t count them out either,” she said.