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Lady Bulldogs to apply ‘pressure’ this season

Andalusia coach Bennie Shellhouse said his team will be applying a lot of “defensive pressure” as the new season approaches.

“We’ll do a lot of the same stuff we did last year,” Shellhouse said. “The defense was our main strength last year. Most of our points came off steals and turnovers.

“Towards the end of the season, we could set up our half-court game and most of the season the pressure would be so much we could steal turnovers.”

The Lady Bulldogs saw great success last season, finishing the year in the first round at the Class 4A Final 48 state championship in Birmingham.

Andalusia lost to Anniston 60-41 and finished the 2008-2009 season with a 24-4 record.

Before the state tournament last season, the Lady Bulldogs had a successful run at the south regional tournament in Troy, knocking off Thomasville in a close 41-35 game that would pave the way to the state tournament. Earlier at the regional tournament, the Lady Bulldogs defeated St. James, 54-46.

“We haven’t talked about the probability of repeating a 24-4 season, but it is highly unlikely,” Shellhouse said. “We’re trying to go into the season with some realistic goals.”

Shellhouse said one of those “realistic” goals is to finish in one of the top seeds in Area 3.

“We just want to be in the top two and that’s all that matters,” he said. “Last year we were able to steal the regular season championship by beating Thomasville away and if we can steal one game from them and be able to host, then I’ll feel good about our situation.”

The Lady Bulldogs will be playing Clarke County, Hillcrest-Evergreen and Thomasville this season in Area 3.

The Lady Bulldogs have two starters returning from last year’s squad in Erica King and Amber Anderson.

In addition, Shellhouse said sophomore Alexis Horton will also contribute to the team.

“Horton didn’t start until the regional tournament last year,” Shellhouse said. “We kind of kept her under the radar all season.”

Shellhouse said Andalusia’s offense would rely heavily on guard play.

“We have a good four out of five players and we’re looking for a fifth player to step up and take that last spot,” Shellhouse said. “Amber will fill the center position.

“We actually will play four guards with one on the inside and then we’ll rotate girls in and out in that center position,” he said.

Shellhouse said his team is hard at work trying to “find their identity” right now.

“We’re going to be depending on a lot of sophomores this year,” he said. “We are just trying to perfect what we do. But, when the first game comes around, we’ll be ready.”

The Lady Bulldogs will travel to play Ozark on Mon., Nov. 16 at 4:30 p.m.