While the Georgia Highlands’ women’s basketball team has started the season in a strong way, there’s no time to rest according to head coach Brandan Harrell.
The Lady Chargers sit at 5-1 in conference play with their most recent win coming Wednesday against Andrew College. Their one conference loss so far came at the hands of South Georgia Technical College, which leads the GCAA Division I standings with a 6-0 record.
The Lady Chargers still have to play two more matchups against the Lady Jets, who are currently ranked No. 17 in the National Junior College Athletic Association, and have some tough road contests coming up after the Christmas break.
“It’s only going to get tougher when you go play some of these teams on the road,” Harrell said. “When you play Andrew at their place, it’s never easy. When you go play East Georgia on the road, it’s never easy.”
Working in the Lady Chargers’ favor is a small break from conference play for the rest of the calendar year.
GHC will play two straight games against Chattahoochee Valley Community College — one at home Saturday, then another on the road Dec. 21. The Lady Chargers will then compete in South Georgia Tech’s Lady Jets Holiday Classic in Americus to close out the year, before returning home Jan. 4, 2020, for a contest against conference foe Southern Crescent Technical College.
The Lady Chargers already defeated Southern Crescent Tech 104-44 earlier in the season, and Harrell hopes the break from conference action will allow his team to continue to improve.
“We’ve got a couple more non-conference games coming up,” Harrell said. “It’s a chance for us to work on some stuff and hopefully get better for the conference. We can’t go backward, so we’ll have to take where we are now and just try to get better.”
Sophomore center Jahnaria Brown agreed the road has been tough, but she’s optimistic about the rest of the season.
“We’ve played some tough games against ranked teams, and we’re doing well in the conference,” Brown said. “We plan on working hard in practice, and we’re just working on getting our scores high and playing good defense.”
Harrell cited his team’s shooting as one of their strong suits this season, which is backed up by the top three leaders for most points scored in the GCAA being Georgia Highlands players — Brown, Ja’Lyn Reese and Alexandria Shishkina, respectively.
“This team shoots the ball pretty well, and we think it will get better as we go,” Harrell said. “They’re very coachable. When everybody is locked in, they play really hard, and that has to carry us. On paper, we’re certainly not as talented as a lot of teams in the country, so we have to make up for that with effort, energy and enthusiasm. They’ve done a pretty good job of doing that.”
Last season, the Lady Chargers finished conference play with a 15-4 record and an appearance in the GCAA Region 17 championship game, which they lost 75-57 to South Georgia Tech.
Rather than focus on the past however, Harrell is determined to keep his team facing forward and proceeding through the season without getting ahead of themselves.
“You’re wasting time if you’re thinking about that right now,” Harrell said. “What we need to be thinking about is, how do we get better tomorrow? How can we clean up mistakes? How are we going to get ready for our next game? If we prepare the right way, and we’re fortunate enough to be in that position, then that will take care of itself.”