SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. — Kim Battle picked a tough spot to begin her head coaching career.
A longtime assistant, she was hired to take over the Social Circle girls’ program last winter. It was an unenviable task.
The Lady Redskins hadn’t had a winning season in over a decade, their best record over that time in 2015 when they finished 13-13. They were perennial region cellar dwellers, having not won a league game in three of the previous eight seasons and more than three just once.
She inherited a roster so depleted that the Redskins began the season with a point guard who had never played organized basketball.
That the Lady Redskins won seven games, including three region contests, provided a ray of hope for a struggling program. Now in her second year, she’s hoping to build on last year. But if she’s nothing else, she’s realistic.
“We’re still very young and inexperienced,” Battle said. “Right now I’m just looking for growth. I’m hoping we can break .500.”
On the bright side, she returns her leading scorer and second leading rebounder in junior Taylor Favors. She averaged 11.7 points, the only player in double figures, and 5.2 rebounds.
Joining her in the back court is returner Tara Poole. A star on the school’s softball team, she took up basketball last year and proved a quick learner while earning a starting spot.
Ana Allen is the only other returner, although she’ll be back in a different spot. The 5-foot-8 forward will be moving to the post to replace Areonnia Vinson, who averaged seven points and rebounds a game last year.
“Our focus this year is on improving our work ethic,” Battle said. “We want to find our identity.”
What exactly that is remains to be seen.
“Our style of play will be determined by our personnel,” Battle said.
One promising development for the Lady Redskins is the drop in classification from AA to A. Two of their seven wins last year came against Lincoln County and Washington-Wilkes, both of whom are in Region 8-A public with Social Circle.
The Lady Redskins’ 2020-2021 campaign tipped off Tuesday, Dec. 1, on the road against Apalachee.