The Smith Mountain Lake Christian Academy (SMLCA) girls basketball team has started their practice and will feature nine players on the varsity level.

Head coach of the girls team, Amanda Beverly, was happy at how much effort her players gave during tryouts and their willingness to get better. 

“They were really pushing themselves, and I was impressed with them trying to set a tone to start the season,” she said. 

She said that now that she knows what the team will look like, the chemistry they have and how well they play together is going to be a main strength for them, but she also knows that there are weaknesses they need to work on. 

“Definitely shooting, especially shooting from the outside,” Beverly said. “We also have a few girls that are strong with ball handling, but other than that, that is also an area we’ll be working on in practice.”

There is a way that Beverly plans to counter the struggles right now, and that is by wearing out their opponent by running and pushing the ball the entire game.

Despite having nine players, Beverly still plans to have her players conditioned so they can do full-court press and man-to-man defense. For offense, Beverly said despite the need to practice shooting, they’re not a tall team and might not be able to work it inside to try and get a higher percentage shot selection if they are at a disadvantage height wise. 

“I’ll still be counting on those outside shots,” she said. “We’ll play our offense to what the defense shows us. It’ll be a game-by-game situation.”

Beverly also mentioned that she will utilize all nine players, and each of them will have a role. She will depend on the point guard to lead the team on the court. She mentioned a couple of players who she is interested in having run the point, like sophomore Alexis Teter, sophomore Gracie Gordon, sophomore Casey Relyea and junior Paris Williamson. 

“I think they are all very knowledgeable of the game and should be able to take on that responsibility,” Beverly said.

Expectations haven’t changed for Beverly on her first season as head coach, as she will be looking to help build and develop the character, hard work and hustle of her girls. One thing she noted was that the team is very excited that they still get to have a season, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

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