COVINGTON -- The Lady Tigers made it to the Final Four of the Class AAAA tournament before losing in the semifinal game. With three starters coming back, they are ready to take it to the next level even though it will be harder this time around.
"I can't even come up with a number saying how much harder it's going to be jumping from AAAA to AAAAAA and looking at some of the people like McEachern, Norcross, North Gwinnett and people like that," Alcovy head coach Kidada Holtzclaw said. "But I feel like we have a real good core group and I'm still looking for a few more people to step up into their role. Once we get that done I feel like we can still make some noise in this conference."
The Lady Tigers started their season with a 50-47 win over Jonesboro on Saturday. Alcovy will be tested again at 5:30 p.m. Friday against Cross Creek in the Alcovy Thanksgiving Classic. The Lady Tigers continue tournament play at 5:30 p.m. Saturday against Miller Grove.
Being a final four team last season, the Lady Tigers will probably have a target on their back. Playing top notch teams will help Alcovy get used to bring their A-game no matter who they face.
"We're playing some quality opponents. We're having our Thanksgiving Classic with five of the eight teams having gone to the state playoffs. Everybody we play we feel is going to prepare us for our state championship run," Holtzclaw said. "We may have a target on our back but so do those people we'll be seeing."
Returning starters from last year's team are seniors Lakeiyah Sorrells, along with Auburn and Alabama commit's Meagan Tucker and Ashlery Williams. Holtzclaw is also looking for Lydia Gibbs, who started a late on the season to contribute.
"I look at both Ashley and Meagan to lead the team. They're the ones who were basically the pioneers that got this program turned a round and headed in the right direction. A team that had only won four games now last year we won 27 games and played in the final four last year. We give a lot of credit to those kids," Holtzclaw said. "Then they're role players who say hey coach tell me what I need to do to help our team."
Besides making a run to play in the state championship game, Holtzclaw is also looking the Lady Tigers' first region championship. As Alcovy heads into a new region, they do so with a lot of unknowns about their opponents. Other than Rockdale and Newton, the Lady Tigers have not played against the other teams. Of the other six teams in Region 2-AAAAAA, three, Lovejoy, Newton and Luella, made it to the state playoffs last season.
"We're going into my fifth year as a head coach and we've yet to win a region championship. We've gotten close going undefeated two seasons in a row in subregion then making it to the region championship game for two years in a row but coming up short. That's definitely one of our main goals," Holtzclaw said. "We just want to make sure we're playing to our highest potential, especially with us losing two of our three starters."