“We’re having a pretty good season; we’re 8-5 and looking sharp and playing good defense. The kids are coming together and bonding as a team…We didn’t play bad last year, but we’ve gotten better,” said head coach Robert Benson.
In getting better, the Raiders were able to advance to the championship game of a Christmas tournament in South Carolina, finishing second.
One thing the Raiders are still working to fine tune is their offensive system, with scoring being the big focus.
“We need to get scoring from more than just our post play. They’re [perimeter players] starting to realize they need to get more involved,” Benson said.
Two of the top scorers for the team are post players, with only one guard putting up some good numbers.
At 5-foot-11 and 5-foot-10 respectively, seniors Toni Coleman and Hannah Labrecque are contributing greatly to the team’s point totals, with help from 5-foot-6 junior guard Andrea Villena and 5-foot-8 sophomore guard Kia Jefferson. Coleman leads the way with an 18-point average while the rest average less than seven.
The obvious strength for this team is its defense, according to Benson. Running a pack line defense — a form of zone defense they began working on last season — the defensive effort is a collective one. Benson said there is only one player who would really stand out much on defense.
“Troicelyn Sims is our best on ball defender. We use her in that position a lot,” Benson said.
Another plus Benson mentioned was the addition to his coaching staff with former head coaches Brian Jones and Justin West.
“They have been great additions to the staff. They’re very knowledgeable and their coaching helps out a lot,” said Benson.
For the second half of the season, East will play nine region games against Allatoona, North Paulding, Paulding County and Rome twice and Woodland for the second time.
“It’s going to be very competitive. Our side is very competitive. We have to come to play in every game,” Benson said.
While Benson knows there will be tough matchups for his team, he said he feels good about its ability to come out with victories.
“I feel good about our chances. I think we feel more confident which turns and helps us play better,” Benson said.