Lady Bulldogs’ full team ‘key’ players

by Benita Fuzzell

“I am excited to be coaching these young ladies and I thank the parents for allowing these young ladies to play under my coaching leadership. I also thank my coaching staff, volunteers, and community members for their support during this season. We are ready to take off!”

That is the sentiment of the new Head Coach for the Fulton High School Girls’ Basketball Team, Dr. Mary Giles.

She will be assisted this season by Charlotte Johnson and Kaleigh Bynum.

While it is Dr. Giles’ first year with the Lady Bulldogs, she has coached for six years altogether, at the elementary and middle school level.

There are 10 Lady Bulldogs on this season’s roster, three of whom are returning to the team, and the remainder, new players.

The Lady Bulldogs’ roster includes seniors Raniah Hollowell and Asianna Patton; sophomore Ashlyn Virgin; freshmen Andreah Glass, Keiyonne Patton, Rio Lang and Piper Cavness; and eighth graders Desarae Johnson, Christiana Mitchell, and Madison Acosta.

The 2022-2023 season record was 5-15 for the Lady Bulldogs.

“For the most part, my starters are learning to perform as a team and call plays on the court. My first off the bench has the aggressiveness needed to drive the ball and score,” Coach Giles said.

According to the Head Coach, Asia Patton has served in a leadership role since forming the team.

“She makes sure communication is effective and everyone understands our overall goal for this season,” Coach Giles said.

Unlike most teams, the 2023-2024 Lady Bulldog team, as a whole, will be considered “key players.”

“Each person on this Lady Bulldog team serves as a keep player who contributes something to the team. Each player may not be of the same talent, but each player makes us the Lady Bulldogs for the 2023-2024 school year,” Coach Giles said.

While this season’s schedule includes a number of formidable opponents, the Head Coach maintains that anyone who has had a solid team for years will be a tough opponent in this year of rebuilding and forming relationships.

“But we will arrive at every game looking for a win,” she said.

Her goal for her team is to form a family on and off the court while winning challenging games. An additional goal is to demonstrate professional standards and sportsmanship with opponents and each other.

“Our team-wide strength is that we are a young team that can keep growing together while becoming better. Also, we have players who desire to play on a college and beyond level who understand what it takes to reach those goals. Our challenges are students that are young often let peers and others interfere with their growth during this learning phase with negative comments. Some players lose focus during the game because of mistakes or missed shots during the game, which influences the outcome of the game. We are working on these mishaps and are looking for better results,” Coach Giles said.