Summer a tough time for Alcovy
Coach: Girls team showed grit during rough season

COVINGTON - Alcovy's girls basketball team did not have a successful summer. But on the other hand they had a very successful summer.

During the camp at Locust Grove, it went 5-3 before forming a Peachtree State Hoops AAU team to compete in the Best of the Summer Tournament at Georgia Tech.

"With a volunteer coach, Steve Chapman, and playing under the summer league team name Black and Gold Tigers, our players showed vast improvement from the June camp," said Alcovy coach Kidada Holtzclaw.

"We got the experience of playing against some of the best players in the country and just in the state. We played teams that are up in New Jersey and the team out of Wisconsin was really good. There was also a team out of College Park that was really good."

Even though it went 0-4 in its AAU games, the team saw that they could compete against teams made of the some of the best players in various states and not just Georgia.

"Two of the four games we lost by less than five points," Holtzclaw said. "Those are games that I felt we really should've won. Getting that experience and seeing that we could compete against some of the best players in the country really paid off for us."

The summer not only gave Holtzclaw a chance to see how some of her regular players have developed and improved, such as Alex Tucker and Kate Palo, it also gave her a chance to see some new talent and how they blend with her starters.

Some of the faces making an impression were Tucker and Palo's younger sisters, Meagan Tucker and Kaci Palo.

"Several newcomers have made a major impact on the structure of our team. The younger sisters of Alex Tucker and Kate Palo stepped up and played a major part in our summer success. Freshman Ashley Williams teamed up with Nikki Moody and really improved the contributions in post play," Holtzclaw said.

Another new aspect to the Alcovy girls program is one of giving back to the community.

For four Wednesdays beginning Aug. 12 and ending Sept. 9, the girls will volunteer their time by reading and spending time with patients at Covington Manor.

"This is something we want to do to give something back to Newton County. We're going to read to some of the patients there and we'll have a chance to participate in some of the bingo games and some people will want to just sit and talk to us," Holtzclaw said.

While the summer may be over for the players, Holtzclaw still has one more event before she puts down her whistle.

On Aug. 15 at Woodland Middle School at 2 p.m. in East Point, she is going to coach the Lady Legends, a team made of up retired WNBA players, against the Conyers Conquers, a semi-pro team.

The players include some gold medal Olympians and former UGA players Teresa Edwards and Katrina McClain.

"It's going to be a treat because a lot of those players I grew up watching play and I idolized them," she said.

"Basically, I'm just going to cheer them on and pretend I know as much as they do."

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