After some dismal basketball seasons in recent years, new girls' varsity coach Michael Williams is hoping to turn things around this season at Thomson High School.
"We have 11 goals to focus on in every game," Coach Williams said.
"I want us to accomplish each of those goals every game. I think the players will catch on more and more with each game that we play."
This year's THS Lady Bulldogs will be led by seven seniors. They include Zakia Wilson, Chiquita Kendrick, Etoryia Anderson, Andrea Culpepper, Brianna Hart, Shanecqua Parker and Jacy Jones.
Coach Williams says the senior group will be counted on a lot for their abilities, as well as their leadership this season. He also feels blessed to have a number of juniors, sophomores and two freshmen on the team. Those players include Breanna Chatman, Sharlette Farmer, Kierra Brown, Nekia McNair, Ke'Onda Bradshaw, Jessica Taylor, Asheleigh Burnette, KiKi Tanksley and Natasha Ballard.
During recent practice sessions, Coach Williams said he has been impressed with his team's work ethics.
"They are always playing hard," he pointed out.
Additionally, the team has shown improvement in the communication area, too.
"We're learning to communicate more effectively and holding each other accountable," Coach Williams said.
At the same time, players also appear to be catching on more and more to their new coach's philosophies about how they, as a team, should approach each game.
Thomson's first game of the season was played against Morgan County last Friday night. They won't play their first home game until Saturday, Dec. 13 when they host Elbert County.
Coach Williams is hoping his team can develop a love and passion for the game.
"I want us to want to come to practice and have a strong desire to play this game," Coach Williams said. "I also want us to fundamentally sound. Right now, we're doing things well in drills. We just have to make sure that we do those things well in games."
The school's new coach, who replaces Eric Rogers, says he wishes he could throw out a number indicating how many wins the team will get this season. Realistically, such isn't possible, though. Thus he said, "I just want to see us improve everyday," Coach Williams said. "I want us to play with passion, intensity and smarts everyday. If we do those things consistently, then I think we'll be able to compete with a lot of teams this season."
Goals for the Lady Dogs' games
- We will hold the other team under 40 points per game;
- We will average 12 or more shots a game more than the team we are playing;
- We will not let any single player score 20 points or more;
- We will not commit more than 16 personal fouls;
- We will average 50 percent shooting percentage from the floor;
- We will shoot over 80 percent from the foul line;
- We will turn the ball over 12 times or less;
- We want to score first in the first half;
- We want to score first in the second half;
- We want to out-rebound the opposition on the offensive boards; and
- We want to out-rebound the opposition on the defensive boards.