Bison girls start fresh

Nov. 20, 2012 @ 07:05 PM

For better or worse, the High Point Central girls will be a blank slate this season.

On the one hand, that might be a challenging in that the Bison are young and inexperienced. On the other hand, that might be a positive for first-year coach Ben Free to start building his program his way. 

“One positive is it’s allowed me to go out, meet a lot of girls who may’ve been interested, encourage them to come out and put my own imprint on the program and build it with players who are familiar with me,” Free said.

“It makes it a little easier because, when you’ve got players who are used to one system, then coming in with new ideas can be a tough transition. We haven’t had that problem because it is so new and fresh, and they truly want to be a part of it and work.”

Last year, HPC went 12-15 and qualified for the state playoffs. Just a few months later, though, with seniors Tevyn Jones and Sarah Cox graduated and Briana Grier having transferred, it is a vastly different team.

The only two returnees are senior forward Qualisha Blakely and sophomore guard Kierra Currie, while freshman guard/forward Jalissa Lopez will also be a key component to a team looking to be competitive as it grows.

“We’re very inexperienced,” Free said. “So, right now, I’m trying to figure out what to expect. We have two returners and we haven’t had a JV program. So, right now, we’re just trying to figure out where we are, and we’ll see what to expect.”

The Bison will focus on defending well, and to compete hard and have team chemistry, Free said. Those are positives to build upon. But, as a young, inexperienced team, they also need to continue to build their basketball IQ to get better.

So, there surely will be growing pains, as Central, which opens Friday against Winston-Salem Prep in the Headliners Challenge at Wheatmore, faces a number of very good teams this season. But the goal is to continue building.

“Honestly, as far as wins, if we could reach double-figure wins, I think that’d be a success,” Free said. “I think the past couple years they’ve had between 12 and 14. Like I said, we’ve got a whole new crew. So, 10 wins would be a great goal for this program and just keeping the morale.”