The Georgia Northwestern Lady Bobcats will begin play in the 2017-2018 basketball season with some players from schools who have never had alums wearing the Navy-and-Silver before.
Already having signed recruits this off-season from Ringgold High School and Calhoun's Georgia Cumberland Academy, the Lady Bobcats can add Chickamauga's Oakwood Christian Academy to that list after talented, multi-sport standout Tori Hall signed with the program this past Wednesday.
Hall, a Southern Christian Athletic Association All-Conference performer, was on the Walker County Dream Team all four years she suited up for the Lady Eagles.
An Honorable Mention pick as a freshman and as a sophomore, she averaged 8.6 points and 2.7 steals as a junior to make the second team. This past season, she turned in averages of 5.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, 5.5 steals and 2.9 assists to earn first team honors as the Lady Eagles advanced to the SCAA title game.
"This is a chance to play basketball in college, which is something a lot of people don't get to do," said Hall, who began playing the sport in the fourth grade. "I'm really excited about getting to play with a whole new team."
Apart from her defense, Hall said leadership skills were her strongest suit.
"I hope to bring unity and leadership to the team," she explained. "I've sat and watched teams who aren't very unified just fall apart. When you don't play as a team, you don't get very far and that's one of the things I've learned at Oakwood. Being with your team and doing stuff outside of basketball really helps you come together."
Oakwood head coach Kraig Givens said Georgia Northwestern was getting a born leader.
"They are getting one of the best leaders they can possibly get who also works harder than anything in every sport," he said. "She is who she is because she works extremely hard at it. She cares about her teammates and, as a coach, her character is what you want in any player.
"I think before the season started, in both basketball and volleyball, she realized that this was it for her. She needed to make it count in all areas and she did a great job of doing that."
Lady Bobcats' head coach David Stephenson also said he has already seen evidence of Hall's leadership skills.
"Even after just one night (at open gym workouts), I could see her already starting to take on a bit of a leadership role," he said. "I think she will be a great addition to have to go with Katy (Phillips), who is coming back for a third and final year, and (Tori) can step into that role even more the following year."
Stephenson said that Hall's on-court skills stem from what he calls "a natural instinct" for the ball.
"Defensively, she gets her hands on a lot of balls," he continued. "You can have all the speed and quickness in the world, but if you don't have that natural instinct for the ball, it doesn't matter.
"I really see her playing more of a 2 or 3 spot for us. Everyone is probably going to have to play just about everywhere, but I feel more comfortable about that going into next season because I think we have players that can do it. Plus, she's our first ever (player) from Oakwood so I'm excited about that too."
"I like that I can actually walk on (at Georgia Northwestern) and play," Hall added. "At most colleges you have to wait a couple of years before you really get a chance. I've been to some (workouts) and met some of the girls already. They're really nice and I hope to become friends with all of them."
Hall was also an All-SCAA performer and a two-time Walker County Dream Team volleyball player and said she is heavily leaning toward playing both sports at Georgia Northwestern. She is also a member of OCA's first-ever fastpitch softball team, which began play this spring.
Hall said she is planning on study nursing in college.