COVINGTON - After a dismal first year for the Alcovy Lady Tigers in which they went 4-19 overall and winless in subregion play, head coach Suzanne Smith is hoping to start fresh.
"I am looking forward to starting over. We have three returners, but we've got new, young blood," Smith said.
Returning from last year are senior Meggan Moody and juniors Tiffany Moody and Lacy Ivey. Also making the starting lineup this year are sophomore Alex Tucker and freshman Shakira Stroud.
Breanna Sims is also returning from last season, but Stroud is taking her place as a starter because on of an ankle injury.
While three of the nine players on the varsity team are freshmen, Smith feels that the team has more experience than last year's squad.
"The biggest thing is that the group of girls I have right now are fundamentally sound; their court-sense is great," Smith said. "An improvement from last year is that the girls that have played have a year of experience and the girls that are new have played AAU ball. We've got experience even though they're young."
The Lady Tigers start their season against stiff competition, including Berkmar, who made it to the Class AAAAA state tournament.
While it's always good to play quality teams before heading into the Region 8-AAAA South schedule, Smith is worried about what the outcome could do to her young team.
"It could go one of two ways," Smith said. "If we play well, it could be very helpful. If we play poorly, it could be very detrimental. It's like I tell the girls, it's about going out there and doing what you can do and not sitting back and going, 'We should have.' We're not going to have any should-haves. We're going to have we-did and what can we improve for the next game."
The main goal the Alcovy girls have taken on is to improve on last year's record. With a team that has experience and good chemistry, Smith does not feel that reaching that goal will be a problem.
"The team chemistry is awesome. We like each other; they have study hall together after school; they do what they need to do. They play well together, and they have a great time," Smith said.
One thing that Smith is hoping to do is put some points on the board every quarter. Several periods last season, the Lady Tigers were either totally shut out or held to fewer than five points for the eight minutes.
"That's not going to happen this year. I've got some good outside shooters, and I've some good inside players. I think we're a well-rounded team," Smith said. "I'm really excited about the season. I had a revelation. I was thinking about the girls and thinking about what a great practice we had and how much fun they were having. I can have fun too. It was just our attitude, it really came across to me that we we're going to be all right."
Manny Fils can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
SideBar: At a glance
Team: Alcovy girls basketball
Head coach: Suzanne Smith
Last year's record: 4-19
First game: 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Cedar Grove