Lady Warriors off to hot start
by Emily Horos
ehoros@mdjonline.com
December 11, 2012 12:29 AM | 2079 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
With seven players returning from a team that went 22-9 and advanced to the state quarterfinals a year ago, it would be easy for North Cobb girls basketball coach Matt Williams to attribute this season’s early success to experience.

But that would only tell part of the story.

The Lady Warriors also added a couple of freshmen, Aniya Corley, a 5-foot-5 guard and Alexis Luster, a 6-0 forward, who Williams says are “better than your average freshman.” So far, that has been the recipe for success as the team is 6-0 entering today’s Region 4AAAAAA game against Harrison.

The Lady Warriors began the season by winning the title in the Darlington Thanksgiving Classic for the second straight year.

“We actually played in the tournament last year and had some success in it and wanted to play it again this year,” said Williams. “We are good friends with the coach at Darlington, so we played that tournament. Everything after that has been a region game.”

In the tournament, the Lady Warriors beat Stone Mountain, Calhoun and Darlington. Since then, they have defeated McEachern, Pebblebrook and Hillgrove. Only the Lady Hawks came within 10 points of the Lady Warriors.

“We’ve played some good teams,” said Williams, who sites last season’s 20-game winners Calhoun, Darlington, Hillgrove and McEachern. “I don’t think we have played a shabby schedule whatsoever.”

As for the region, he is impressed thus far.

“We’ve only seen three teams, but two of the three were real good,” said Williams.

Four of the returning Lady Warriors have experience as starters, so they just weren’t on the squad, according to Williams. One of them, sophomore Kyrie’ Chandler, a 5-6 guard, started every game as a freshman last season.

Her coach said that she is a player, who truly leads by example.

“Kyrie’ Chandler has been our leader so far,” Williams said. “You don’t hear a lot our of her, but she is a kid with a 4.1 GPA. She works hard in the weight room every day, practices hard every day. I think her example daily has inspired some other kids.”

While this isn’t a surprise to Williams, he said it wasn’t something he expected from a sophomore.

“Last year we knew she had a bright future just because of her work-ethic,” he said.

The Lady Warriors aren’t the only Cobb County team off to a strong start.

Hillgrove is 6-1 under first-year coach Susan Milam, with its only loss coming against North Cobb. Osborne started the season 8-0 before falling 59-53 to Stephenson on Saturday.

The Lady Hawks (3-1 Region 4AAAAAA) lost to McEachern in the state championship game last season and they will get their first shot at returning the favor tonight when they face the Lady Indians. With just three seniors on the roster, Hillgrove is building a program not just for this season, but for the future.

The Lady Cardinals (8-1, 3-0 Region 7AAAAA (B)), went 24-6 a season ago and seem to be replicating the success under coach Melanie Samuel.
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