Shellhouse set to take the reins

Published 6:17 pm Thursday, August 7, 2008

Newly appointed Andalusia head girls basketball coach Bennie Shellhouse will take the reins to try and keep the winning tradition alive for the Lady Bulldogs.

Shellhouse has been an assistant basketball coach for each of the last three years, serving under former head coach Marshall Locke. Shellhouse is also the school’s band director.

Before making his way to Andalusia, Shellhouse coached the B-team boys basketball team and was an assistant varsity basketball coach at Straughn.

Shellhouse said that the team will play an “up-tempo” type of basketball scheme this coming year and in the future.

“Our biggest thing is hustling and we’re going to play an up tempo style of basketball and to just try to out-hustle everybody to every loose ball,” Shellhouse said. “We’re also going to try to be more physical with everybody, playing with a hard-nosed defense, while implementing a lot of the same traditions we’ve had for years.”

Another aspect the team has worked on is the mental game.

“The biggest thing we have worked on trying to improve is the mental aspect of the game,” Shellhouse said. “Taking care of what we do rather than constantly worrying about officials or what the other team is doing and the pressure they’re putting on us. I just want to make sure we’re doing all the right things. That’s probably the biggest thing we’ve worked on this summer.”

As far as what will be brought to the table game to game, Shellhouse said the team will show a more “aggressive” type of drive.

“We’re going to try and be more aggressive driving the ball,” he said. “There will be more passing and less dribbling. Those are the type of things that we have worked on this summer.”

Shellhouse added the team has already seen some playing time and that overall they did not do that bad.

“We played a couple summer games against Georgiana and Red Level,” Shellhouse said. “We also played Enterprise, Charles Henderson, Peyton and Milton in Florida and Fort Walton.

“We played at Troy against 6A schools and we ended up being 8-5 against the teams. The team hung in there and only had one game where we really got beat. In the rest of the games, we lost by three points or less. We’re hanging in there with everybody else.”

The Lady Bulldogs have a strong group of seniors coming back on the team and Shellhouse says that will be important in the upcoming season.

“We’ve got a big group of seniors coming back and so we have some good starters,” he said. “We’re going to be able to play about 10 girls this year, which is something we haven’t been able to do in the last couple of years. A great group of nine freshmen will be on the team. Among them, almost all of them played on the eighth grade team last year. They really have a good concept of the game.

“For the younger girls, the pace of the game is different for them,” he said. “Coming from middle school to high school ball, everything is just a lot quicker and a lot faster. In eighth grade basketball you could have one person scoring a lot for you, but in high school basketball they’re going to cover that one person and then you’re going to have to get somebody else to score some points. You’ve got to find other routes to score.”

On the season as a whole, Shellhouse said he hopes to “continue the winning tradition.”

“We’re just hoping to continue the winning tradition we have here with the women’s basketball program,” he said. “I think coach Locke has set up a good program for us and I’m going to try and continue that. I think we’ll be really competitive with everybody we play and hopefully we’ll be able to compete for the area championship.”

“It’s going to be a competitive season,” he said. “We’re in an area with Jackson, Thomasville and Clarke County. All of those teams having winning traditions with their girls also. They have been to regional tournaments and championships. It’ll be a tough road for us.”

Shellhouse has a wife, Mary Ellen; a 21-month-old son, Nathan, 3-year-old daughter, Grace and a 5-year-old son, Ethan.