Remonica Stephens anticipated that the combination of freshman bigs and veteran leadership could lead to potential success for her ballclub for the 2017-18 campaign.
And so far, so good for the Bowdon High School girls' head basketball coach as the Red Devilettes opened the season with a 64-47 overpowering of Heard County during Day 1 of the Thanksgiving Bash at BHS on Saturday afternoon.
Bowdon (1-0) came out clicking in the first quarter as the combination of senior forward Rylee Robinson and freshman forward Trista Gay utilized their size to dominate Heard County (0-1) in the low post, powering the squad to a 19-7 lead after one period of play.
The second frame brought more of the same as Gay, who finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds in her prep debut, continued to crash the boards. The Lady Braves would see a freshman of their own step up in her first minutes of high school action as guard Sophia Long led her team and scratched and clawed her way into leading all Lady Brave scorers throughout the first half. Heard trailed Bowdon 32-15 heading into the half.
Playing a little bit of the inside-out game coming out of the locker room, the Red Devilette guards started to make their marks on the game with senior Maci Holloway burying a pair of 3s,while sophomore Dasia Wyatt showed her sleight-of-hand abilities with multiple steals on the defensive end. Bowdon jumped out to its largest lead of the afternoon, carrying a 51-29 advantage heading into the fourth.
But HC wasn't going down lightly.
A physical early part of the fourth quarter featured the visitors going on an 11-2 run, all spearheaded by the gutsy efforts from the trio of Tori Caldwell, Haley Bennett and senior Sage Kelley. But the host Red Devilettes ended up shutting things down with Wyatt and freshman post Tanesha Kirk tacking on more points to seal the 17-point victory.
Stephens was pleased with the way her team established dominance early in it' season opener, but she definitely could do without a few lapses that came during the contest.
"We're still working on our confidence and there's still rough edges that we have to smoothen out. Particularly keeping calm in the middle of tense situations like we saw in the fourth," Stephens said. "Fortunately, our seniors are doing a lot more talking this year. They're doing a good job at coaching our younger ones on the court during those moments where they can get a little bit nervous. That's really good to see."
Saturday wasn't quite the start to the season Heard County head coach Helen Akins wanted to see from her team, but she liked the way her girls battled into the fourth. For them, it's a matter of getting off to a quicker start.
"I don't think we came out in the beginning with the same level of intensity that we're capable of playing with. We saw it in the fourth quarter, but we needed it from the beginning," Akins said. "I still couldn't be more pleased with their effort in the second half and trying to come back. We just need to start that way."
Both teams will be in action during Day 2 of the Thanksgiving Bash on Monday. Bowdon will go head-to-head with Kennesaw Mountain at 2 p.m., while Heard County will face Central at 3:30 p.m.