Andalusia senior Shandricka Thompkins (55) runs to get in position during practice Monday afternoon. The Lady Bulldogs will start their 2013-14 campaign soon. | Andrew Garner/Star-News
Andalusia senior Shandricka Thompkins (55) runs to get in position during practice Monday afternoon. The Lady Bulldogs will start their 2013-14 campaign soon. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Looking to compete

Published 12:04am Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Andalusia girls are looking forward to start of season

For more than a week, Andalusia’s Lady Bulldogs have been hard at work to get ready for the 2013-14 basketball season.

AHS will see a much-improved team with almost everybody returning from last year’s squad, Lady Bulldogs coach Teresa Herring said.

“Last year, we had a lot of youth and no one had any playing experience other than Tyleshia (Malcolm, who AHS lost to graduation last year),” Herring said. “This year, we’ve got (everybody) coming back and all have had some game experience.”

There are four seniors on the Lady Bulldogs team. They are Laticia Crittenden, D’Ashia Johnson, Shandricka Thompkins and Grace Burns. Burns is a transfer from Class 5A Jackson.

Other than the four seniors, AHS will bench nine other girls on the team, which is six less than last season’s total of 19.

“It’s a lot smaller group than we had last year,” Herring said. “They all want to be here. We’re going school-wide with the attitude is everything. We’re trying to get a better attitude out of here this season.”

Herring said the team, as a whole, should be much improved.

“We definitely should be a lot better than we were last year,” Herring said. “We’re focusing on defense right now, of course. Your offense comes off your defense. You need to start somewhere. For us, we’d like to start with our defense.”

The point guard position is still up in the air as of right now, Herring said. Thompkins will be at center. Alexis Lawrence and Merikal McCaskill will more than likely play at the three and four positions.

Andalusia will be competing in Class 4A, Area 2 again this year with Hillcrest-Evergreen, Monroe County and Wilcox Central.

The Lady Bulldogs didn’t make it past the area tournament last season, they hope to change that when the time comes in February.

“Monroe is going to be strong again,” Herring said. “They’ve still got some big size — we saw that in volleyball. Wilcox is always good at basketball. Hillcrest was getting better and improving as well. Their coach has done a lot with them. We’ve still got a pretty strong area.

“I like our chances in it,” she said. “Again, anything goes. Last year, we all split.”

One of the great things about basketball is that area play doesn’t start until January, giving teams a fair amount of time to get ready for the games that matter, Herring said.

A big game that matters to Andalusia is its area contests against MCHS.

“We know that’s an area game,” Herring said. “They beat us three times last year, and all three games were close. We gave them the fight of our lives.

“We didn’t like how that last one ended (at the area tournament),” she said. “We definitley want that one back. I know the girls want to play that one again.”

Spectators will notice an obvious difference in the team, Herring said.

“You’re going to see a lot of different style basketball from these girls,” she said. “It’s not what people have seen from Andalusia looking in.

“We’re really excited (about the season),” she said. “They’re getting used to (AHS assistant) coach (Brad) Garner and they’re getting used to me. It’s not better or worse, or different than what it used to be. We just feel like we’re all working together.”

Andalusia won’t know when it will start its season until football season is over.

Some notable games early on for the Lady Bulldogs include contests against Pleasant Home and Straughn. Additionally, AHS will play in Red Level’s annual Christmas tournament.

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