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King returns experienced group

The Rockdale County girls varsity basketball team will feature plenty of familiar faces during the 2013-2014 season, and for Lady Bulldogs’ coach Gladys King, that’s exactly what the second year coach wants.

King, who helped the Lady Bulldogs to a 17-11 overall record and a third place finish in Region 2-AAAAAA last season, lost just two seniors from last season’s team. Rockdale County returns four starters, and King feels like all of that returning experience will be a big factor in the Lady Bulldogs’ win-loss record this season.

“We lost just two seniors from last year’s team,” King said. “Our line-up this year features four returners and we have a sixth man that played very well last season. I feel very confident in the girls we have returning and the girls we have brought up. We have experienced players, and it should pay dividends for us this season.”

The Lady Bulldogs will return seniors Brianna Patton, point guard Shabreta Alexander and four sophomores that played heavy minutes under King last season.

Patton averaged 10 points against for the Lady Bulldogs a season ago, while grabbing more than five rebounds a contest, while Alexander dished more than three assists per game.

“Brianna and Shabreta are going to be big for us this season,” King said. “They’re going to play a vital role in continuing to help our younger players grow and develop.”

Along with Patton and Alexander, Rockdale County returns sophomores Jonai Jackson, Bicana Riley and Sydney Fields. Riley led the freshman group with 6.4 points a game, while Jackson and Fields combined for more than eight points a contest.

“Our freshman group last season played a really important part in our program,” King said. “I’m looking to see a lot of improvement in them as well.”

King said that offensively, the Lady Bulldogs will primarily run a motion-based offense, while on defense, she’s looking to cook her opponents with pressure.

“We run an option offense,” King said. “We change things up as well with a few set plays to get some of our shooters open. We mix it up a lot on defense. We really like to get pressure on people. We did a good job of that last year, so I’m excited to see how we do this season with the same defensive game plan.”

King said her team’s biggest strength will be their experience and speed.

“Our biggest strength will be our experience and speed,” she said. “Everyone is learning and getting more comfortable with me, and that is going to help, too. They know what to expect this year and they know what we want to run and do as a team.”

In region play, King said that she can expect a battle with two familiar foes in Newton and Alcovy.

“Alcovy won the region last year, but it’s going to be a battle this season,” King said. “Alcovy, Newton, Luella, Lovejoy and Morrow are all going to have strong teams. I’m really looking forward to playing Newton this year. They are going to have a good program.”

While King hopes the Lady Bulldogs can make the postseason again this season, her expectations include more than tallying victories.

“I want them to give it all on the court and in the classroom,” she said. “I want to see them never give up. I want people to know that whenever they are going to play us, they’re going to have to compete.”

The Lady Bulldogs begin their season Nov. 19 at home against Stephenson.