This article was written before the Lady Tigers season opener against Salem. Check covnews.com for updates.
The Alcovy Lady Tigers basketball team finished third in the region last year by beating Rockdale 42-38 in the region tournament before losing in the first round of state.
This year, the David Baker-led Lady Tigers are a little bit younger despite having six seniors on the team. The majority of the team comes from junior varsity, Baker says. With the youth that they have, Baker has stressed discipline and fundamentals daily in practice.
“As we chip away at the fundamentals, we’ll get some more wins,” Baker said.
“I’m looking for a lot of leadership. I stress that a lot – leadership from our seniors. That’s ideal to have a team with six seniors, so that’s one thing that I stress a lot,” Baker added.
Baker said that the team is working on trusting each other, a result of their relative youth.
Trust is a crucial aspect of team chemistry; it’s essentially the engine that makes the car run.
Baker says that he wants the team to be defensive-minded. Team chemistry is a huge part of playing sound team defense, which is something the Lady Tigers did well in the second half of their exhibition against Gainesville on Wednesday night.
After allowing 31 points in the first half, Alcovy’s zone defense was strong in the second half as the team gave up only 18 points in the final 16 minutes. The Lady Tigers executed the zone with little error in the second half. Their rotations were crisp, smothering ball handlers and clogging up the paint to force bad jump shots.
They forced turnovers too and ran in transition to score points, which is exactly the way Baker wants to play.
“To be able to defend, to get out on that fast break from our defense and just for my players to be able to trust each other,” Baker said speaking on his team’s identity this season.
As far as the offense goes, Baker wants to let the game come to them.
“Just taking our time on offense and slowing it down, taking what the defense gives us and not rushing it. Going through all of our sets, knowing what to do when the plays break down, knowing ball reversal, all those things will be a work in progress,” Baker said.
Baker says that he’s looking for players like Tierra Hodges, Keidra Sears and Ayanna Wimbush to be the main components of the team this year. He added that he’s also looking for some of his sophomores to step up and make an impact.
If Alcovy can play defense like they did against Gainesville in the second half then the team should find itself in play for a top-3 seed in the region again this season.