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Lady Eagles kick off difficult second half
by Ericka Birdsong
January 09, 2013 09:30 AM | 1273 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Excel Christian center Emily Willingham lays up a shot during a recent practice.
Excel Christian center Emily Willingham lays up a shot during a recent practice.
The Excel Christian girls’ basketball team began the second half of their season with some tough competition and continue to realize they are lacking in depth.

“We have a tough stretch coming up. Three of our next four opponents landed in the top 10 of the state last year. Southwest Atlanta Christian went to the championship last year and only graduated one senior,” said head coach Michael Roberson prior to the first game of 2013.

Going into the Jan. 4 game against Christian Heritage the Lady Eagles were 4-7, a record Roberson said could have easily been 8-3 or 9-2.

“We would usually be winning going into the fourth but then we just lost it,” Roberson said.

A major cause for the fourth quarter slump is the lack of depth the team faces as they only suit up seven players for varsity. While Roberson said his team does not use this as an excuse, he does recognize the problems it causes.

“Our depth is definitely a weakness. We only have seven players so teams have been able to wear them down. It does affect us if we get in foul trouble or need subs. My guards, Catie Metcalf and Andrea Taylor, don’t really get any rest,” said Roberson.

Despite the lack of rest during games, Roberson said his girls “play hard and give really great effort.”

With the 2012 half of the season over, the top scorers for the team are Emily Willingham and Taylor.

Willingham is a 6-foot senior center and averages 12 points a night, scoring in the 20s in some games. Taylor is a 5-foot-7 sophomore point guard, averaging 10 points.

On the defensive side, Excel Christian plays a zone, getting a collective effort from everyone. However, Roberson said if they stuck to a man defense, Taylor would be the top defender. Roberson also said 5-foot-5 sophomore shooting guard Abby Keefe has had lots of blocks thus far.

Right now Roberson said the team is changing the course of things in the program and they are starting to become more competitive.

“People used to have us on their schedule as an easy win, but we’re starting to change that. There’s no taking away the heart and character of these girls. We have something I think other teams would love to have when it comes to character,” said Roberson.

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