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Lady Tigers launch new era under Holtzclaw

COVINGTON - First-year Alcovy girls basketball coach Kidada Holtzclaw is hoping to bring a new attitude for a team that went 2-18 last season.

"Our biggest strength is our team attitude. Our seniors have shown great leadership vocally and by example," Holtzclaw said. "Our other kids have done a great job in following. These kids are beginning to find another gear and improving their effort. Those are the key steps."

A way the girls are hoping to step it up to the next level is by concentrating on fundamentals and getting stronger.

Besides spending time in the weight room, the team also attended a camp over the summer in hopes of getting to know each other better and build confidence in their fellow teammates.

However, other players decided to do things on their own as well in order to become a better player.

"Many players have been involved in preseason one-on-one individual workouts to focus on improving the basic fundamentals of the game. A lot of these players have put in a lot of work to prepare themselves for this season," Holtzclaw said.

The Alcovy coach is hoping the work done in the offseason will help the team limit its turnovers as well as reaching some of its other goals - out-rebounding its opponents and improving its shooting percentage.

The Lady Tigers are going to have to improve as they head into Region 4-AAAA for the first time.

"The change in the region creates awareness in our team that our preparation has to be at the optimum level. Every player on our team will have to raise their level of play to reach the standards that he have set for our team," Holtzclaw said. "Some of the tougher teams in the region will be Griffin and Jonesboro."

Holtzclaw has four returning starters from last year's squad - Tiffany Moody, Alex Tucker, Nikki Moody and Lisa Kossally.

Other players include Mikki Clark, Brenique Lewis, Tiarra McKibben, Sada Nolley, Suntiana Thompson, Shakira Stroud and freshman Kate Palo.

"New players have to step up and make positive contributions in practice and in games," Holtzclaw said. "Our sole freshman has shown that she can contribute and will have to do so offensively and defensively."

While the Lady Tigers have done all they can to improve, the one thing they could not do was get taller.

"Our small size is our most noticeable weakness. That puts us at somewhat of a disadvantage in the rebounding department and in post play," Holtzclaw said. "However, our kids are starting to understand the meaning of the fight in the dog."

Manny Fils can be reached at manny.fils@newtoncitizen.com.

SideBar: Alcovy Girls Basketball

· Coach: Kidada Holtzclaw (first year)

· Last year: 2-18 overall

· First game: 1 p.m. today vs. North Springs at Philips Arena

· Key returning players: Tiffany Moody, Alex Tucker, Nikki Moody and Lisa

Kossally