Young, but experienced

Published 12:01 am Friday, November 12, 2010

Pleasant Home's Abigail Kelley practices Thursday morning. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

This season, the Pleasant Home Lady Eagles will dig deep in the days of old in the hopes of making it back to the Final Four, girls coach Kelley Garner said.

“Our main goal — or our biggest goal is to make it back to the Final Four, and that’s something we did several years ago,” Garner said. “It’s not out of our reach. That’s one of our goals. Another goal is to win the area, and host the area tournament. That’s always a big goal we strive for.”

The Lady Eagles are coming off a 14-12, 2009-2010 season, where Pleasant Home fell to Brantley in the Class 1A Sub-Regional tournament.

At that time, the Lady Eagles were facing adversity with many key players out due to injuries.

Garner said being “injury free” is a big key this season.

“This year, we’re hoping to stay healthy and injury free so we can have our whole team,” she said. “Last year we had to piece things together.”

Right now, the Lady Eagles have 14 players returning from last year’s team. Pleasant Home lost two starters to graduation — Kayla Woods and Gina Davis.

This season, PHS is made up of one senior in Brentin Fuller and three juniors in Mary Schwartz, Erica Bullard and Kendra Bryan.

Garner said she hasn’t decided who will start in each position, and added it can change game-to-game.

“Competition is kind of tight right now,” she said.

This year, the Lady Eagles will be competing in Class 1A, Area 2 with county rival Florala, Geneva County and Kinston.

Garner said Geneva County is new to the area mix.

“They haven’t been in our area ever,” she said. “We’ll have to do some research on them. I’m not sure what kind of team they’ve got.”

Pleasant Home will start out its season against W.S. Neal on Fri., Nov. 19, and will end the month at Straughn on Nov. 30.

Starting in December, the Lady Eagles will play Andalusia, J.U. Blacksher, McKenzie, Excel and will participate in the Alabama-Florida Shootout from Dec. 30-Jan. 1, 2011.

“We’ll get started off with a bang,” Garner said. “We’re hoping by playing bigger schools, and good teams will make us better down the road come January.”

January is when area play will begin for the Lady Eagles, and Garner said she hopes to find that one player that can take the team, and lead them to success this season.

“We’ve never ever been a one-man show,” she said. “The last several years we’ve had a team effort. Right now, I’m just looking for who will step up and carry us.

“Who’s going to be the one that will be our leader we need,” she said.