Basketball tryouts and practices started on Oct. 26. Local high schools have organized their teams and are busy preparing for the 2009-10 season. In this edition, we’ll take a look at the Bradwell Institute Lady Tigers, who went 25-5 overall and 13-1 in Region 3-AAAAA last season.
Coach Faye Baker’s team ended second in the region behind Beach High. The Lady Tigers defeated Riverdale and Luella in the post season before falling to Redan in the final four. Redan went on to win the state championship, defeating Marietta.
Last season, the coach had a young squad, but most of her players were veteran starters.
The same is true this season as several returning players will return for another season on the varsity squad.
Baker said she had roughly 35 girls try out for the ninth grade, junior varsity and varsity teams.Baker said the returning varsity players are seniors Seandre Lee, Camille Jackson and Kiara McNeely, and juniors Mariah Maternik, Quintunya Chapman, Suede Jones and Quianika Hatchell. According to ga.prepcounty.com, LaNiqua Fowler and Keandre Frasier are also on the varsity roster.
Baker said she has a few freshmen and transfer students who might see time on varsity. They are Marie Sanders, Tiara Howard, Tisha Fraiser, Termice Boles, Candace Bolden and Leitia Leiataua, who transfered from First Presbyterian Christian Academy.
Given all the returning players and last year’s winning season, the coach said the Lady Tigers are a top contender this season.
"The pressure is definitely on us this year because we are expected to win," Baker said. "We are seasoned and we are returning four to five starters from last seasons’ team that did so well. The kids are experienced this year so the pressure is definitely on us, especially as coaches. We are expected to win and there are no excuses."
The coach said the focus is getting the girls back into basketball condition. Baker said Seandre Lee stayed in shape by playing on an AAU traveling team out of South Carolina.
"That helped her a lot," the coach said. "But even the players who are just coming out of another sport, such as volleyball, they still have to switch gears. Basketball conditioning is a lot different and right now we have to get them ready for basketball. We open our scrimmage game against Tattnall County in roughly three weeks. Definitely not enough time to get fully conditioned, but it will be a good test for us to see where we are and how we stand."
Baker said the team is excited about the upcoming season, but she knows the squad is under pressure, especially with a tough region schedule. The coach said she knows every team presents a challenge, but one team in particular will be an uphill battle.
"It’s always going to be coach (Ronald) Booker and his squad," Baker said about the Beach High Lady Bulldogs. "Because one thing about him is he is always going to develop a team that will play very solid and aggressive basketball. They play off tradition also and those kids have a tradition of winning and believing they can win and that is half the battle. But again my philosophy is we are not going to overlook anybody. On any given night we know we can be beaten so we are going to go in and play each opponent as if they are the top team to beat."
The Lady Tigers scrimmage Tattnall County at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 17, at Tattnall High School in