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Experience to help Alcovy girls basketball achieve winning season

COVINGTON -- Last year, Alcovy's girls basketball team made it to the Class AAA Sweet-16 with an experienced group of players. The 2011-12 team comes with even more experience and higher goals.

Returning for another season are Meagan Tucker, Kate Palo, Ashley Williams, Kaci Palo and Lakeiyah Sorrells,

"These ladies are very familiar with one another," Alcovy head girls coach Kidada Holtzclaw said. "They have great team chemistry. It will be huge when it comes to crunch time and it comes time to move on in our region play. There's no selfish play. They really have bought into the team concept. They understand that's what it's going to take for us to be successful."

Even though the Lady Tigers lost a great player in Lisa Kossally last year, Holtzclaw feels that what they lost with her will be more than made up in other areas by Tucker, Williams and the other returners. When they lost Kossally at point guard they lost a lot of offensive quickness and defensive pressure. But what they are gaining by the others stepping up should more than compensate for that.

"We are having Meagan move into the point guard position. We lose a little bit but we gain a lot with her offensive prowess. She's a great passer," Holtzclaw said. "She and Ashley have been playing together for two or three years. It helps to have somebody familiar with our inside core. Meagan has a very high basketball IQ. We lose a little bit of speed but we gain a little more."

While making it to the Sweet-16 was good last year, it's not going to be enough this year as their goals have gotten bigger. The players feel that making it to the Elite 8 or to the Gwinnett Arena for the Final Four is attainable with the talent and confidence that Alcovy has coming back.

"Our kids are really excited about what we're able to put on the court. We have people moving into positions that they're familiar with now. We want to continue to build on what we saw last year. Hopefully, we'll be able to exceed our goal," Holtzclaw said.

Alcovy ended its season going a perfect 14-0 during the regular season in Region 3A-AAAA and an overall record of 26-4. Two of its losses were a 62-52 loss to Statesboro in the Sweet-16 game and a 54-44 loss to Fayette County, which was the Class AAAA state champion, in the region championship game.

Before the Lady Tigers start to get back to going undefeated in the subregion, they are going to have a good test. Alcovy will play tough Stone Mountain and Newton teams prior to playing Griffin at home on Dec. 6 and at Ola on Dec. 10. Prior to getting into the heart of the region season, Alcovy will participate in the Savannah Holiday Classic and the Peach State Invitational.

Stone Mountain made it to the state playoffs last season and is very athletic and can put a lot of points of the board while Alcovy finds itself in the minority in the Peach State Invitational.

"There are several teams that are ranked in the top 25 in the country that will be at that tournament," said Holtzclaw of the Peach State Invitational. "There are only three or four teams in that tournament that were not state champions or made it to the Final Four and we're one of those."