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PREP HOOPS: Lady Cougars off to impressive start
Piedmont Hoops
Piedmont Academy’s girls’ basketball team is off and running with a 3-0 start to the 2020 campaign. - Chris Bridges | Special to The Covington News

MONTICELLO, Ga. — It has been so far, so good for the Piedmont Academy varsity girls’ basketball team.

Coach Michael Wilson’s Lady Cougars have raced out to a 3-0 start and have been impressive in each outing. The most recent victory came in the region opener at home on Saturday in a 54-14 win against Oak Mountain.

Previously, Piedmont defeated Rock Springs Christian Academy, 63-35, on the road last Thursday after opening the season with a 61-20 home victory against New Creation Christian Academy.

We had about as good a first week as we could want,” Wilson said. “I think the girls played well together from the start and that momentum just built and grew. We are going to find out an awful lot about us this coming Friday so we can’t enjoy the week for too long or we will be in for a rude awakening in Sandersville. It’s a definite step up in competition and will be good for us and I know the girls are ready to get a chance to show how good of a team we can be.”

Through the team’s first three games, eighth grader Marissa Holder is averaging more than 16 points per contest. Senior Sydney Stroud is averaging more than eight points per game and Haley Ann Frank is averaging more than seven points.

“We hit the ground running,” Wilson said. “We felt these first few games were ones where we would be better and we challenged the girls to not overlook or take anything for granted and to handle their business. They did that and much more. I am definitely very pleased with the first three games and their results. Everyone got to play, we got contributions from many different players and as the games went on many of the younger girls appeared to get more confident.”

While the coach knew Holder was talented, even he has been impressed with what she has done so far.

Marissa’s shooting performance against Rock Springs was unbelievable,” the coach said. “It’s one of the top scoring performances for any girl ever at Piedmont and to do it in your second game as an eighth grader is kind of mind blowing. To make 7-of-15 three-pointers in a game is outstanding.”

Holder finished with a game-high 29 points against Rock Springs.

“I think what impressed me more was her game against Oak Mountain,” Wilson said. “She didn’t’ shoot the basketball poorly as she only got about a quarter and a half of playing time because the game was so far out of hand. I know she wanted to score but she didn’t force it. She played the game and helped us with her assists and rebounds.”

The team has also received quality efforts from Stroud, Frank and Jayden Young.

“They have been great leaders and they are doing so by their actions,” Wilson said. “All These girls want is to win. They remember being in eighth grade and losing games by 40 or 50 points to teams like Brentwood and they’ve worked so hard to lift the program to a level where we are on equal footing with the top basketball programs in GISA.”

The Lady Cougars will travel to Brentwood on Friday for an early-season marquee matchup beginning at 5 p.m.

“As good as the results have been, we still have to clean up some areas if we want to be successful this Friday,” Wilson said. “Specifically, we have to do a better job on the defensive boards and in how we play defense. We relied too much, at times, on just being better and got sloppy with our rotations and were slow to react and move. Against better teams that could result in fouls, easy baskets and a result we don’t want to see so we will fix that this week in practice and look to get back on the court Friday and have a successful result.”

Wilson said it will take a team effort in the next game.

“Haley Ann is leading us in assists, Sydney is leading us in steals and Jayden is rebounding and playing great defense,” he said. “In addition, their attempts have dropped and it’s simply because they are unselfish and the rest of the team is feeding off that.”