Alcovy girls basketball coach David Baker shows what his team is about as he wears his “commitment” shirt during a summer workout. (Staff photo: Manny Fils)
COVINGTON — Before starting their summer workouts, Alcovy head coach David Baker had a team meeting expressing the importance of building team chemistry.
“I was fortunate enough to only lose two seniors so this year I have five seniors. I’ve been trying to build team chemistry because I have seniors, juniors, sophomores and freshman so I have a good mixture with both varsity and junior varsity,” Baker said. “We’ve been focusing on everything chemistry. I have really seem improvement on our team defense and our passing. Passing was our Achilles Heel last year, we had a lot of turnovers. Those are the two things I’ve really seen improvement in but we still have a long way to go.”
Whatever was said must have worked as the Lady Tigers are playing as a cohesive unit. While playing in the summer league at South Gwinnett, the Alcovy girls have a record 5-2 including a loss which they used to build on.
“We played Redan, who won Class AAAA state championship. They got out to a 17-point lead on us and we closed it to six points by the end of the game,” Baker said. “I could see it on their face that was a big confidence boost for them.”
Besides playing Redan, the Lady Tigers also got a chance to see how DeKalb County basketball is played. That knowledge will be helpful with Lakeside, DeKalb and Tucker, who are the Class AAAAA state champions, coming into the region next year.
“We’ve been able to see how hard and fast DeKalb County schools play. We added Tucker and Lakeside this year and one thing I noticed is all the teams play hard and they play fast,” Baker said. “That’s been good for us to see that.”
Because Baker was not named as the Lady Tigers head coach until the summer workouts were over, the girls did not have a chance to hear what he had to say or see what he was trying to do. As a result he had a hard time getting the players to do things the way he wanted. But after taking them to the first round of the Class AAAAAA playoffs, he has the confidence of most of the players.
The other problem he had last year was not seeing which girls were the natural leaders causing him to tell the players who lead them. This year is different as a few players are stepping out taking those on-court leadership roles.
“We’ve been sitting back to see who is going to take that leader role. I do have to say that my senior, Ayanna Wimbush, has really stepped up as well as senior Keidra Sears. She has really turned out to be the floor general I’ve been looking for,” Baker said of Sears. “This year I’m not picking, I’m going to let them step up and lead and those that don’t want to lead can step out of the way. My sophomores from last year, Quantasia Perry and Amari Montgomery, have really stepped up. I’m looking forward to have them help us with their defense.
“I still don’t feel like the word is out that we’re doing (summer workouts) because we only have two freshman and I’m sure more are going to want to come out. I’ve been trying to explain to them is that in basketball you can’t just turn it on in August and end it in February. It starts in the summer. That puts us ahead of the game now that we’ve been able to work with each other this summer. It’s key, I really want to get the word out that we’ve been doing things here. I’ve been trying to get our team chemistry since last year we had talent but no chemistry. This year we’re taking the time to built that chemistry.”