With a 9-3 overall record and a 4-2 mark in Region 6A (B), the Lady Paladins are riding a wave in which they have won nine of their last 11 games.
“We’re pleased at the direction to which we’re going,” Fellowship Christian coach Clay Price said. “From year to year, since we’ve been here, we’ve gradually gotten a little bit better. This is the first year that we’ve gotten off to a nice start and been able to maintain that. It’s been pleasing to see what the girls have been able to do with their hard work, so it’s a blessing in a way for them to start reaping the benefits.”
After losing 63-34 to Class AAA north Fulton rival Blessed Trinity to begin the season Nov. 22, Fellowship responded with eight consecutive victories.
The Lady Paladins did begin 2014 with two straight losses – losing to Mount Paran Christian 52-31 Jan. 7 and 85-33 to defending Class A private school champion St. Francis last Friday, but rebounded strongly with a 58-27 win over North Cobb Christian last Saturday.
Fellowship has 11 players — including three returning starters — from a team that went 15-13 a year ago.
However, the Lady Paladins have missed seniors Lauren Hurney and Kendall Mansfield for most of the season due to injury, though both players have recently returned to the lineup.
“We have a nice group back from last year, though we’re still extremely young,” Price said. “But, really, until this semester, neither of the seniors had played yet due to injury. We were 8-1 at Christmas and the seniors had played in one game each, because of injury. So, for the most part, we shot to that kind of record playing three sophomores and two juniors.”
For Price, a strong defense is the key to his team’s success.
“Defensively, we do a pretty good job,” Price said. “A nice portion of our offense is coming from our defense. We trap on a half-court basis and cause some people to make turnovers and convert them into layups and just force some people to take some shots they don’t ordinarily take and that presents us with an easy rebound and a quick outlet. So, we get transition baskets off of some of the defensive stuff that we’ve done and that’s been a plus for us.”
Junior Kelsey Royalty leads the team in scoring with about 15 points a game, while seniors Hurney and Mansfield provide strong veteran leadership for a young Lady Paladin squad.
Sophomore Megan Hudgens provides a spark at the point guard position, with junior post player Abigail Freemyer giving Fellowship a strong presence under the basket.