It hasn’t been a smooth transition at times this season for the Alcovy girls varsity basketball team, but if the effort and attitude displayed by junior guard Ayanna Wimbush are any indication, then the Lady Tigers aren’t down in the dumps – they’re eager to get better. Wimbush, a junior who helped to pace the Lady Tigers to a 22-7 overall record and a perfect 12-0 mark in region play a season ago, has had to take on a more demanding role than the one she held in the past.
No more are there games shooting behind Division I players Meagan Tucker and Ashley Williams. She helps to lead Alcovy now.
The junior has taken the role and run with it this season, even though Wimbush is still trying to find her voice through 10 games with the Lady Tigers this year.
"She’s taken on a leadership role in our program, but we’ve asked her to become a more vocal leader," Alcovy coach David Baker said. "She’s one of the girls who came into this season with a lot of experience that I thought would help steady this team.
"She’s done that, but now we need her to take it to a new step on the court. She has a wealth of knowledge to share with her teammates, and I want her to know that she can exercise that. It will
come with more confidence."
Wimbush, who was the lone freshman selected to join the varsity team during her first year at Alcovy, has done and seen it all, and feels that she can only improve as a leader for the Lady Tigers as the season goes on.
"I feel like I’ve handled the leadership role pretty well so far," Wimbush said. "I can always improve, but every game we get into farther along into the season, I think it’s getting better."
To become a leader, Wimbush had to prove it on the court, and that meant spending a lot of time on her offensive game.
"I’m scoring a lot more, but also making sure that I can my teammates the ball,'' Wimbush said.
"I feel like one of my biggest strengths is that I can play all five positions on the court," she said. "I want to be able to handle the ball well and feel like I can score from any position on the court."
Baker said that Wimbush’s shooting has become her deadliest trait, but that to be the most effective player she can be, she has to trim down on her turnovers.
"Her biggest strength is her shooting," Baker said. "Her pull-up jumper and her free-throw shooting are very good and are a steadying force on the offensive side of the ball. We’re working with her to cut down the turnovers.
"Our team hasn’t valued the ball, and it’s killed us at times. So I think if she starts valuing the ball more, her teammates will see that and take notice. I ride her a lot about that, but I know she can handle it and she can help me get the point across to the other players."
The Lady Tigers’ head coach also believes that her confident has risen while she’s excelled. Wimbush started off her season with six points against Newton, one of the most explosive teams in Region 2-AAAAAA, before scoring 15 points in the Lady Tigers’ first win of the season against Druid Hills. The junior also knocked down a win-clinching free throw against Morrow in the Lady Tigers’ 64-62 victory over Morrow.
"Her offensive confidence is growing, and it’s certainly risen throughout the season," Baker said.
"She’s starting to put up a good number of shots during the game for her. The first couple of games she wasn’t aggressive enough. Now she’s more aggressive;; we just want to see overall consistency game in and game out.
"It comes natural to her and she’s building on it every day."
Though she’s improved, Wimbush is still trying to fine-tune her game.
"At the end of the season, more than anything, I want to be more outspoken," she said. "I want my team on the same page. I want to direct them, I want to take the open shot, I want to find my open teammates and most of all, I want to win."