Girls’ basketball looks to improve on last year’s record of 16-9 by bring- ing back a strong returning nucleus including, but not limited to: Shontai Totten, Jazmine Atkins, Jazanae Billings, Bryn Aydt and Kristian Eanes.
Last year, the Chargers were young, notably having three freshman playing significant roles. The team will be much more experienced, as many underclassmen now have a year of high school basketball under their belts.
The team has been working hard in the offseason to improve individually and as a whole. This year, the team looks to play a more up-tempo style of offense and score a lot more.
“This is probably one of the most talented teams I’ve had,” head coach Cameron Vernon said. “We are getting there and looking to make some big strides this year. This year’s team has the potential to do very good and make a deep run in the playoffs.”
Totten will be one of the key leaders on this year’s team; she is the only senior and has been playing varsity basketball since she was a freshman.
“This year, we have to have all of the underclassmen step up,” Totten said. “I want to make it far in the playoffs with this being my senior year. I have to score a lot more and overall be a better leader for the team.”
One of the key underclassmen on this year’s team is Atkins. Atkins looks to rebound after being injured for most of last season.
“I think one of the things that will help us this year is that most of us have played together for a long time, and hopefully that will work to our advantage,” Atkins said.
Bryn Aydt is a sophomore who will have a bigger role this season after working hard in the offseason to improve her shooting.
“Bryn has worked on her shot the whole summer. She is going to be deadly from three-point range,” Vernon said.
The Chargers have a tough conference schedule this year including Southern Durham and Chapel Hill, who won the 3A state championship last year. Even with a strong returning group, Vernon believes there is plenty of work to be done.
“There has to be no individuals on this team; everyone has to sacrifice for the good of the team. If we do that, we will have success,” Vernon said.
Totten shares a similar view of this year’s team.
“We are going to be much smaller than most teams this year. We have to work harder, out-hustle teams and be disciplined in order to have success,” Totten said.
The Chargers are off to a 9-2 start this year and are 3-1 in conference. The Chargers have played very well thus far in the season as their only conference loss was to Chapel Hill, the defending 3A State Champion. They face Cedar Ridge Friday at home in conference play.
-By Jacob Sipe