Lady Hilltoppers putting in work
Seasons are changing. A new chill is in the air and high school sports are moving indoors.
The prep basketball season is just over a week away and teams like the R-S Central Lady Hilltoppers are fine tuning their game in preparation for their season openers with scrimmages and jamborees like R-S Central hosted Wednesday night with North Buncombe and West Henderson.
"It's very beneficial to have these scrimmages," R-S Central head coach Darius Fuller said. "It allows us to see in a game-type intensity and speed what we need to do."
The Lady Hilltoppers opened the night against North Buncombe and struggled with numerous turnovers in a 50-34 loss to the Black Hawks.
"We saw that we aren't handling the ball well so we'll have to focus on that and we didn't do a good job running any of our plays," Fuller said.
However, this scrimmage environment allows the players to recognize their areas of concern against other competition.
"This right here is going to help because now they can see what the coaches see," Fuller said. "Now it's time to turn their understanding into productive endings ... this right here will do nothing but make us better by midseason when I hope we can make a little noise."
The Hilltopper backcourt is struggling after the departure of longtime point guard Alyssia Watkins. Now senior wing player Tia Bristol is the primary ball-handler for Central along with Sierra Wilkins and freshman Alina Chavez.
"I've been fortunate the past five or six years to have some good teams," Fuller said. "This year I know we can be good but we'll just have to work a whole lot harder and it's going to take a lot of patience as a coaching staff."
The full-court pressure style of North Buncombe didn't make things any easier for the Hilltoppers as seven of the 10 players on the roster are either freshmen or sophomores.
"North Buncombe is an in-your-face style that we weren't prepared for, but again, this helps us see a style that we plan to see in conference this season," Fuller said. "The bright is side is that we're young and I see where we can grow. The future is bright but right now us coaches need to remember that we're young and inexperienced."
Now the Lady Hilltopers will travel to Freedom High School on Saturday for the Super Saturday Jamboree to try to work out more kinks.
"We'll be able to get more experience against even more teams," Fuller said. "We're excited because we see some growth and the girls see stuff a little bit more on the court. But now they have to not only see it, but exploit it."