Toombs County Lady Bulldog head basketball coach Melody Walker spent some of May and most of the month of June working with what will be her 2018-19 team. She lost two primary scorers to graduation- Christine Mobley and Shakevia Knight. However, she has an interesting mix set for the coming season. Her veterans include a junior scorer Calvnika Davis and three post players, all in the 5-10 and 5-11 range- senior LiliAnn Pittman, junior Ashunti Campbell and sophomore Amya Bullard.
“We’re still looking for the post players to contribute more offensively, but defensively they did better than they did offensively this summer,” Walker said. “We are still getting them accustomed to the footwork in the low post and being able to knock down that mid-range jumper at the elbow. Calvnika Davis shot the ball extremely well for us. We’re looking for all four to be leaders for us. Amya Bullard is continuing to progress and being in that weight room has helped us get stronger and hopefully we will apply that to our game so that we are playing stronger and battle in that post.”
Moving up from the league championship Toombs County Middle School team will be K.K. Mobley, Ziahaya Griffin, Trinity Robinson and Chantavia Howard. “They are coming in with an extremely positive mindset, so instrumental in the progress we made this summer because they are coming in with the attitude that they don’t expect to lose.They have had great success in middle school. ” Walker added. “With K.K. Mobley being our point guard this upcoming season she is giving us a lot of energy, she is able to push the ball. The biggest thing is keeping them confident and working them hard and getting them accustomed to the speed of high school basketball.”
“Trinity Robinson is another one who has contributed defensively,” Walker said. “Ziahya Griffin has shot the ball extremely well from the perimeter and I don’t think she even realizes how good of a player she can be. Chantavia Howard has contributed on the boards. She is like a sponge, she soaks up everything that she is being taught in the low post.”
Mobley led the Lady Bullpups in scoring with her aggressive style of defense which forced many turnovers which she turned in to points with her speed getting to the hoop. So, has she been able to have the same impact on summer high school games? “She looks the same,” Walker answered. “The thing I have noticed with her is she isn’t looking to score as much being in high school. But, she is able to score anytime she wants to. She can get to the basket. Her first step is quick and she is able to knock down that perimeter shot and the mid-range shot and I am going to look for her to do even more of that this season because she is a scorer and she can do that with out much effort.”
The Lady Bulldogs played with a short bench last season, usually dressing out about eight players. This season Walker would like to have a deeper rotation. “I would like to have an eight or nine girl rotation out there hopefully by Christmas, because I know it is going to take some time, but we will continue to work with them and keep them pumped up and encourage them and push them hard and get the most out of them.” Walker said.”
For the second straight season former Toombs County head coach Bobby Waller, who nearly coached the Lady Bulldogs to the Final Four in 2000 (TCHS lost to Harris County 40-38 on a last second shot in the AA quarterfinals), will be an assistant coach. “Coach Bobby Waller has been an amazing help with my post players. Of course he brings a wealth of knowledge to the game. He has been consistent being there and dropping nuggets off to me and helping me with different adjustments defensively and offensively and so he has been a real key in our progress this summer. We still have coach Alton Mobley who is going to be with us during the season as well,” Walker said.
In addition to practicing and scrimmaging in their own gym, the girls did some traveling to East Georgia, Swainsboro and Bryan County. The Lady Bulldogs also spent considerable time in the weight room as they are trying to get stronger for the upcoming non-region and Region 2 AA schedule.