Latara Spriggs and Christen Mercer were three-year starters for the Lady Tigers and were the biggest offensive threats on the team last season. Mercer was also the leading rebounder, and was the only girl on the team over 6-foot.
Looking to fill the void left by the departures will be a host of returning players, transfer players, and even a freshman.
To make the transition easier, Douglas County will return three starters from last season’s squad. Sophomore Maya Benham will take over the leading scoring role after finding starting time as a freshman in 2011-12.
“She is our primary offensive threat inside and outside,” said DC Head Coach Chet Forsh. “She is our best player and is always where she needs to be, but she will also have to work on her defense.”
Also returning is senior Amadi Brooks, who still is not 100-percent yet after getting a high ankle sprain during the volleyball season.
“She is about 75 to 80-percent right now,” Forsh said. “But she is even further behind because her conditioning is not where it needs to be because she has not been able to practice a lot.”
Sophomore Santasia Faust also returns to the starting lineup.
“She is her usual chaotic self on the floor,” Forsh said. “She will make a crazy play on offense but will follow it up by making a great play on defense.”
“She is a high energy person, especially on the defensive side,” he added.
Looking to fill the other two spots will be Ronika Mitchell, Kianna Glover, Quonisha Faust, Kyemeshia Easy, Amira Atwater, Doris Ijeoma, and Tamia Tillman.
Mitchell, Glover, Quonisha Faust, and Easy are all returning players from last year’s team. Atwater is the lone freshman on the team this season. Ijeoma is a transfer student from Lithia Springs and Tillman transferred in from Valdosta.
“I am not sure what to expect from this group yet,” Forsh said. “They will all have different roles and I will use a different starting lineup probably 3, 4, or 5 games into the season to see which group works best together.”
Working together for the first time Tuesday night, the girls struggled against McEachern in a scrimmage game, losing 60-46.
Forsh played everyone in the game.
Quonisha Faust made a good impression on Forsh, who summed up her game as “showing improvement”.
Though the team did not break 50 points, a rarity for a Forsh led team, the coach was not surprised.
“It was kind of what I expected,” he said. “We have only had time to scrimmage ourselves once and we are not up to game speed yet.”
The team should have plenty of time before region play starts. With so few teams in the region ,it means that DC will have the opportunity to play several regular season games first in preparation.
As for entering the new region and classification, Forsh has not given it much thought.
“Just give me the schedule and tell me where to play and we will play,” he said. “We only have to beat two of the teams but we want to be better than all five.”
As for expectations for the season, Forsh put it to his girls simply.
“I told them they don’t want to be the first team in six years to not make the state playoffs,” he said. “The rest is to be continued.”
The DC girls will open their season this Saturday in the Parkview Thanksgiving Tournament. The tourney will also play on Monday and Tuesday next week. Game time for Saturday is at 2 p.m. The Lady Tigers will play Greater Atlanta Christian.