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Lady Gamecocks fall short of expectations

    Looking back on the 2006-07 basketball season, the Screven County Lady Gamecocks had many ups and downs, but for SCHS coach Jennifer Acree, most of the memories are good ones.
    The expectations were high for Acree and the Gamecocks — they were 2006 Class AA runners up in the GHSA state playoffs — and the season started off as many had hoped it would.
    “The beginning of the season — when we started on the 11-game win streak,” said Acree. “That was great — especially coming off the season that we had the year before. People were expecting a lot. We didn’t disappoint — that was the greatest thing about it. We knew teams would be gunning for us and we were able to sustain it for the most part.”
    The regular season success was made even sweeter due to the record shattering performance of senior Kadedra Evans. Aside from the fact the Evans led her team in points, rebounds and blocked shots, she was able to reach some career milestones as well. Evans became the first Screven basketball player — male of female — to score over 1,000 points and grab over 1,000 rebounds. She also became the first to reach 2,000 career rebounds for the Gamecocks. Evans and the rest of the SCHS seniors also became the winningest class in school history, amassing 90 wins in their four years on the court.
    Acree knows replacing those seniors is going to be tough, but she remains cautiously optimistic.
    “We’re just losing so much,” said the coach. “That senior class has been a part of Screven County basketball for four years. To take four pieces out of your puzzle that (did so much) — a majority of the scoring came from them, a majority of the rebounding came from them, a majority of the steals came from them — this group next year is going to have to learn to compete every single game. Once they learn that, they will be fine. As far as talent — they’re great… There is not going to be a big drop-off in talent level, but you will see a drop-off in regards to experience. Those four seniors have played together for so long.”
    The toughest thing to replace — according to Acree — will be the production from the post, with the departure of Evans leaving a noticeable gap.
    “For the first time, I have to replace post players,” Acree said. “I haven’t done that since I have been here. I have a good core group of guards coming back that will be juniors next year… Hopefully the upcoming senior class will be able to carry the load until some of the younger players come on over.”
    Last Saturday, the Lady Gamecocks’ season came to an end when undefeated Randolph-Clay knocked them out of the Elite Eight of the state playoffs by a score of 40-31. As disappointing as the loss was for Screven, the Gamecocks are still happy with the season as a whole.
    “Were we disappointed that we didn’t make it back to the final four? Of course,” remarked Acree. “But we have to be realistic about it. Only four teams can get to the Final Four and only one team is going to win the championship… The teams that normally win state titles are the ones who play their ‘A’ game every single game. That’s the reason we didn’t make it back to the Final Four — we played well — we just didn’t play our ‘A’ game.”
    The future is unsure for Acree and her Gamecocks, but for now, the girls can reflect on just how far Screven County basketball has come over these last four years.

    Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9404.

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