Derrick Mahone/Douglas County Sentinel Alexander sophomore Abby Crawford, left, and junior MaryKate Eubanks have played a big role in the Cougars' success this summer.

Calling it an easy transition, new Alexander coach Dallas Smith says she has been pleased with the team’s effort this offseason.

The Cougars have played in two camps so far as Smith makes the move to the head coaching position this upcoming season.

An assistant the last few years, Smith was tabbed to succeed Adam Watts as the coach.

Alexander had a good showing at a two-day camp at Clayton State University despite missing the majority of its seniors because of testing. The Cougars followed that with a tournament this week at New Manchester the last three days.

“It has been a good way to prepare for the season,” Smith said. “I really like the way we are getting after it and hustling. I’m a very big defensive person.”

The Cougars are coming off a season where it finished third in the region and advanced to the first round of the state playoffs. Leading scorer Alliee Pattillo has graduated and versatile forward Kiara Watson has also graduated.

Rising senior Jenuwin Drayton will be counted on to be one of the leaders on this season’s team. She has been on the varsity the last four seasons.

“My big thing is to help us keep winning,” Drayton said. “I want to leave the team after me something. I have to lead by example.”

Smith is also counting on all-region junior MaryKate Eubanks to continue to lead.

Eubanks said in addition to playing, the team is learning to bond.

“It has been important to bond and continue to build that teamwork,” Eubanks said. “I have to continue to be versatile and lead. I think overall we have been adjusting to coach Smith’s style of play.”

Smith graduated from Alexander in 2007 and played four years at at Reinhardt University in Waleska. The 2007 team played in the state playoffs.

It was the last time since the 2015 team broke the drought to play in the state playoffs.

Smith said playing aggressive defense and uptempo is what she will bring to the team.

“She is really pushing us,” Eubanks said. “I think we have a chance to be good. We know that she really cares for us.”

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