Upbeat, ready

Published 11:59 pm Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Pleasant Home girls basketball coach Kelley Garner said this week that she is upbeat about the season that awaits her team.

“I’m expecting a good season,” Garner said. “We always have high expectations every year. One of our main goals this season is to host and win our area tournament and hopefully to make it to the regional tournament in Mobile.”

The Lady Eagles team will be without standout players Erin Byrd, Brittany Ward and Ariel Gunter, who filled key positions on the team last season.

“We’ve got some shoes to fill,” Kelley said. “I’ve been very pleased at practice with some of these younger girls that have come in — they want a spot. They’re working extremely hard.”

Last season, the Lady Eagles finished a strong 22-5 season at the South Regional tournament in Troy after falling to J.F. Shields 69-43.

Leading up to the regional tournament, Pleasant Home won the Straughn Thanksgiving tournament, which Garner said she hopes will happen again.

“We expect nothing less then to be at the regional tournament again this season,” she said. “We want to win the Straughn Thanksgiving tournament again and the Alabama-Florida shootout at Christmas again.”

The Lady Eagles have two seniors, Gina Davis and Kayla Woods, and one junior, Brentin Fuller, that Garner said “will have to carry” the team.

Davis and Fuller will have to lead in the post, while Woods will be at the guard position.

“After those three, our experience level drops tremendously,” Garner said. “I have three sophomores and six freshmen. We were fortunate enough last year to pull those freshmen up from eighth grade in several ball games.

“So, they got some experience at the varsity level,” she said.

Offensively, Garner said her team will stick to what they know how to do.

“We won’t do a whole lot differently with our offense in the past years,” she said. Defensively, Garner said there would be some change this season.

“I’m hoping we’ll be giving them some new looks this year because these girls are bringing quickness and size to the team,” she said. “I have probably the biggest size-wise team that I’ve had since I’ve been down here.”

Right now, the average height on the team is approximately 5-foot-9, she said.

“That’s good for us,” Garner said. “The defense has always been what we rely on for scoring. We’re just gong to battle it out for four good quarters and hope to give ourselves a chance at getting some wins.”

The Lady Eagles will open their season on the road at Zion Chapel on Tues., Nov. 17, following the B-team at 4:30 p.m.