Goals have been established. Now all that's left is to attain them, says Thomson High varsity girls' basketball coach Michael Williams.
The foremost goal is to have a winning season. And that's something the Lady Bulldogs haven't been able to do in more than five years. In fact, during that same time period, Thomson has managed to win only 22 games.
Last season, the Lady Bulldogs won only two games, while losing 22.
This is a new season, though. And because the team has adjusted to the new ways of doing things under his leadership, coach Williams is hoping this season will be the turnaround for the program.
"We're a step closer in terms of the players having a better understanding of their roles and how our system works," coach Williams said during a pre-season interview last Wednesday. "Offensively, we want to have consistent movement without the ball and to be more patient when we have the ball and take shots. We want to take much better percentage shots."
Defensively, he pointed out, "we want to put pressure and confuse our opponents when they have the ball."
Coach Williams believes his players are more attuned to what he expects of them.
"They see the big picture now and how it all has to work, if we're going to be successful," he said. "We started seeing some of that towards the end of last season."
Thomson lost eight seniors last year, but even with that many seniors, the team lacked experienced and the kind of leadership coach Williams says he'd like to see his team possess.
This year's team has only four seniors. They include starting point guard Natasha Ballard, starting guard Breanna Chatman; Kierra Brown, a guard and Kiki Tanksley.
Ballard, who has caught the interest of several college coaches, including Middle Georgia and Fort Valley, is one of the team's best all-round players.
"She anticipates so well and is a good shooter from the field, as well as the free-throw line," coach Williams said. "She plays with a certain amount of calmness and is a good floor leader."
Chatman, meanwhile, is a player who simply finds a way to take the ball to the hoop, coach Williams said.
"She is a very versatile player," he added. "I'd like to see her get a little quicker on the defensive side."
Coach Williams said two of his team's main goals are to put together a winning regular season and make the post season playoffs.
Last season, the Lady Bulldogs played well, but ended up losing several close games. This year coach Williams said, "We must turn those close games into wins. We must continue to work on our confidence level. If that comes around, we should be a lot better than we have been in the past."
In a scrimmage game played against Monticello on Nov. 14, Thomson lost a heartbreaker, 43-42 in overtime.
"Overall, I was pleased with the way we played in that scrimmage game," coach Williams said. "I wish we could have come out on top, but a foul called towards the end of overtime made the difference."
The Lady Bulldogs participated in a Shootout Tournament against the Lincoln County Lady Red Devils at Thomson High this past weekend. They will tip off regular season on Saturday, Nov. 28 when they travel to Greensboro to take on the Greene County Lady Tigers. The following Saturday, Dec. 5, they will entertain the Warren County Lady Screaming Devils at home.
The 2009-2010 Thomson High Lady Bulldogs consists of the following players, aside from the ones already mentioned: Sharlette Farmer, Brittanica Howard, Ebony Sims, Melisa Rodriguez, Tiffany Burley, Keke Robinson, Nekia McNair, Asheleigh Burnett, Brittany Reid, Shanequa Hudson and Ke'Onda Bradshaw.
Coach Williams is assisted by coach Veronica Cunningham.