The Richmond Hill girls’ basketball team just wrapped up their summer practice, which included 35 games and several camps.
Coach Elizabeth Bennett said the team is looking strong and should be a force to be reckoned with come winter. This year’s line-up features several players from the region champion RHMS team as well as many returning players from last year’s young team.
"The team played very well and I’m very happy with how this summer has gone," Bennett said. "We progressed and got better from the first game to the last, which was a goal."
Bennett said the team fared well in summer competition, which is exceptionally well seeing how two returning starters, Dajah Davis and Kourtney Myers, were absent for most games due to having summer jobs.
Bennett said the summer MVP was Tyler Carlson. Just as she did last season, Carlson was the summer points leader. Bennett said she saw a lot of improvement in Carlson over the summer which should bode well for next season.
"Tyler was phenomenal this summer," Bennett said. "She was more consistent. Last season she had a few instances where she was hot and cold, but she was red hot all summer. I see her stepping into the upper classman role. Tyler not only impressed me but also some collegiate coaches, which may open some doors for her in the years to come."
Bennett said she purposely scheduled her team to attend basketball camps at colleges that the girls could potentially attend, like Mercer and Armstrong, so that those coaches could observe the RHHS players.
Bennett said Carlson and fellow returning player Janelle McKinney will continue playing this summer in various camps and showcases, which she commended both players for.
Among the strongest incoming freshmen this summer were Sarah Goolsby and Lakeesha Durham.
"They shared the point guard post, which is the hardest position to play as a rookie," Bennett said. "Aliyah Johnson also looked great. Unfortunately, she suffered a knee injury half way through our summer schedule which put her out of action."
Bennett said rising sophomore and "up and coming post player" Kaley McCauley stepped up her game this summer "and I’m looking for some good things from her next season."
Official practice for the new season begins at the end of October, but the team will start conditioning a couple weeks after the school starts back.
Bennett said, despite being a guard-oriented team in past, she looks to incorporate more post play this coming season.
Bennett said the new Region 3-AAA line-up should not have an effect on the Lady Cats, and the issue of more travel will not be an obstacle for the team.
"We’ll prepare ourselves the same way and play just as hard no matter who we are up against," she said. "The travel factor will actually be more of what I’m used to, coming from the collegiate level."
Bennett was a basketball coach at Armstrong State University before coming to RHHS last year.
With the new region alignment in place, the Lady Cats are scheduled to play the following teams this coming season: Baldwin, Burke County, Liberty County, Thomson, Washington County and West Laurens.