Prep Hoops Preview: Lady Bulldogs return plenty of talent
When Brandon Staton entered the media room after last season's 63-57 loss to Pisgah in the Western Regional championship, the Thomasville coach was already thinking about the possibilities for the next year.
A majority of his team would be back, leaving the Lady Bulldogs as a frontrunner to make another deep postseason run. But he also realized the heart and soul of his program for the last few years would no longer be on the court.
“After the last game against Pisgah I knew I had a tough job ahead in replacing Joslyn Spires,” said Staton.
Spires is now a freshman at Greensboro College and had been the point guard for THS all four years of her high school career.
Now, Staton must find someone else to fill the most important position on the floor. So far he has been pleased with the potential replacements.
Michaela Williams has gotten the starting nod for now. She played backup minutes last season and has a nice shot. Dereka Miller is another who could see plenty of time at the point and Charity Oliver is tough for her size.
“A lot of these girls have played point guard over the summer and we will have a couple girls sharing that responsibility,” said Staton.
The shooting guard and wing positions is where the Bulldogs have the most talent. Jashana Thomas is a 5-10 senior that is athletic and physical. She has developed a nice outside shot and can take the ball to the basket with authority. Six-foot Christina Coleman enters her junior season with a plethora of responsibilities. She is deadly from the outside and makes a living at the free throw line. Her rebounding ability will be needed being the tallest player on the team. Kayla Johnson fills the other starting role on the wing. She got valuable experience last year and can hit the mid-range jumper.
In the post Staton will start Megan Kinley. At 5-10, Kinley may not be the tallest on the floor but she is physical and can push opposition off the block. Staton looks for Kinley along with Coleman and Thomas to be the team leaders.
“They will be veteran leaders for this team. In open gym and practice they have taken ownership of this team and it has been easy to coach with them putting the team on their shoulders.”
This may be the deepest team Staton has had. He proved in a game against Wheatmore last week he is willing to go 10-deep. Those adding depth include 6-0 Shania Wilder, 5-11 Jasmine Bowden, 5-11 Kayla Gammons and 5-9 Lisa Burgess.
Nothing has changed in the game plan for THS. They want to apply a full-court press and create offense from turnovers.
“We are going to pressure people until they get tired or we get tired,” said Staton. “What we want is to pressure the other team to create easy layups for us.”
The Central Carolina Conference has become one of the toughest in the state the last few seasons. This year should be no different. Thomasville has plenty of talent, but so do the likes of North Rowan and East Davidson. Whichever team gets the top spot will have earned it.
“It does not get easy this year in the conference,” Staton said. “Salisbury had two girls transfer to North Rowan and East Davidson is going to be East Davidson. Our league is competitive and it is going to get us ready for the playoffs.”
Sports Editor Zach Kepley can be reached at 888-3631, or firstname.lastname@example.org.