Thomson High School Lady Bulldogs Basketball Head Coach Eric Rogers knows the game and what it takes to be winners.
He's now attempting to convey those concepts to his 12-member team.
Even though the team has yet to win a game on the hard court this season, Coach Rogers is noticing improvements.
"We're still looking to find the chemistry between our starting five," said Coach Rogers, a former college basketball player at Augusta State University, who now is beginning his fourth season at Thomson High School. "I think we saw them coming around during the first two games."
The Lady Bulldogs, now 0-2, lost their first game of the season to the Jefferson County High Lady Warriors by a score of 54-43. They then attempted to win on the road again in Augusta last Tuesday, but ended up losing 44-36 at the hands of the T.W. Josey Lady Eagles.
Against the Josey Lady Eagles, for example, the Lady Bulldogs found themselves trailing 22-10 at halftime. Thomson made a complete turnaround in the second half, managing to get within a basket of their opponents, 37-35 with just under two minutes left in the game.
Thomson could never quite establish a lead in that game - their poor play at the free-throw line playing a contributing factor. They managed to connect on just 10 of 32 bonus shots.
Last season, the Lady Bulldogs went 6-16 overall and 1-6 in sub-region play.
Coach Rogers and his team are hoping to see the basketball program turn around this season.
"We've got to start playing together as a team for four quarters and winning basketball games on a consistent basis," said Coach Rogers. "I feel they're getting there. They're not just throwing their hands up and giving up."
As a team, he contends his team must continue to work hard in practice, commit themselves to the game and be ready to play when game time arrives.
"We know what to do," said Coach Rogers. "We just have to learn to do it when game time comes around and do it for four quarters."
This year's team needs to establish leadership players, too, Coach Rogers said.
"We've got only one senior on the team," he pointed out. "Seven of our players are juniors; so we need some of them to step up and assume leadership qualities."
The lone senior on the Thomson team is LaQuita Fort, a forward. The seven juniors on the squad include: Etoryia Anderson, a guard; Anquetta Cooper, a guard; Andrea Culpepper, a guard/forward; Brianna Hart, a forward; JaTabitha, a guard; Whitney Johnson, a guard; and Chiquita Kendrick, the team's all-important point guard. Sophomores on the team include: Ki-Ki Tanksley, a forward; Natasha Ballard, a forward; and Brianna Chatman, a guard. The only freshman on the team is Sharlette Farmer, a forward.
Since taking over the girls' varsity basketball program, Coach Rogers said he has attempted to get the team focused on the mindset that they can play basketball and win games, if they do the things necessary to win.
This past summer, Coach Rogers formed a summer league that included Thomson, Warren County, Greene County, Washington County, Hancock Central and Burke County.
"We played for four weeks," he said. "I was just trying to find ways for our basketball program to get better. It helped us as a team to become a little better than we were."
The Lady Bulldogs play host to Jefferson County on Friday, Dec. 14 and host to Warren County's Lady Screaming Devils on Sat., Dec. 15. Thomson will compete in the Richmond County Christmas Tournament Dec. 19-21.