Alcovy Lady Tigers had a tough 2018-2019 season as they finished with an overall record of 6-20 and a region record of 1-9, but head coach Justin Hunter is hopeful that his team will show improvement this season.
The Tigers lost a few critical starters like Liana Poole, but Hunter is expecting big things from seniors Ajoyous Tuggle and Unique Reed, but believes success will be an all-around team effort.
"Well, we know about Ajoyous Tuggle and Unique Reed's ability to score, but we also have a person that makes their jobs easier with her presence in the paint collecting rebounds that presents them with opportunities, and that's Dalehia Bolden," said Hunter.
Hunter went on to say that the formidable duo of Tuggle and Reed will be helped by the return of a key player that was lost last season due to a leg injury.
"Serai Johnson, she's returning back after being sidelined due to a leg injury, but she's been a solid player in the past on varsity," said Hunter. "I think she will be able to help us in many different aspects of the game."
Hunter believes that since these main contributors are coming with a lot of varsity experience, their leadership could be a huge key in helping them excel as a team.
"It's sweet. The sweet part is that you witness girls that were freshman or sophomores coming into your program, you see the maturity that has set into them by their senior year," said Hunter. "Their expectations of themselves has increased as well, so it's always good to see the progression instead of regression."
Hunter said that with such a senior-laden group, it always remains in the back of a coach's mind that the time with such a special group is limited. He knows that they have to do as much as they can with such an experienced group under his watch. With this particular group comes a ton of goals and expectations, and Hunter has already set some of those out in his mind.
"First and foremost, one of our goals this year is no hidden secret, and that's trying to qualify for a state playoff spot. I definitely think the girls that we have here have the experience to do that," said Hunter. "As for expectations, we hope to execute more than we have in the past as well as continuing to play with effort."
Hunter knows that there is plenty of work to be done for his team to achieve every goal that they set, and that will be the challenge for them this season.
"To achieve those goals, we have to play smart, sound basketball," said Hunter. "I believe the basic principles always rule. Taking advantage of scoring opportunities that may present themselves, whether it be open layups or free throws, while also playing hard, smart defense. If we play solid defense, then that means the opponent's scoring is limited, so that's something we definitely need to do."
With these basic principles in mind, Hunter knows that his team can always improve, but there's one area that he believes his team needs to grow in the early stages of the season.
"Cutting down on turnovers. We have to improve the most in that," said Hunter. "The amount of turnovers in all sports tells a lot, and the team that has a lot of those are usually not executing well."
Led by Tuggle, Reed, and Johnson, this Tigers team is looking to excel this season and turn the ship around from last season's struggles.
They will look to do that in their first game of the season on Tuesday, November 12th, as they take on the Union Grove Wolverines on the road at 5:30 p.m.