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East Paulding girls adjusting to system
by Marcel Pourtout
December 18, 2013 03:34 PM | 1715 views | 0 0 comments | 28 28 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff / Samantha M. Shal<br>East Paulding sophomore Brianna Lallemand, left, plays defense on senior Koryn Wakefield in practice last week.
Staff / Samantha M. Shal
East Paulding sophomore Brianna Lallemand, left, plays defense on senior Koryn Wakefield in practice last week.
Despite East Paulding girls’ basketball’s slow start to this season, with the Lady Raiders’ lone victories coming against New Manchester on Dec. 3 and Lithia Springs last Friday, first-year head coach Dustin Skelton still finds several positives within his squad.

“This season has been excellent,” Skelton, who previously was the head coach of the Central (Carroll) boys’ team for two years. “We’ve put in a brand new system and the girls are working extremely hard. We’ve been competitive in every game and close to getting over the hump and making a name for ourselves.”

Senior Andrea Villena and junior Zhakia Jefferson have paced the scoring for the Raiders, each averaging more than 10 points per contest with Villena’s 12.3 points per game serving as the team high. Jefferson also has nearly eight rebounds per game this season. Senior guard Troicelynn Simms has pulled down more than nine rebounds a contest this season while averaging nine points a game.

“I’ve been impressed with every single one of our players and the improvements they’ve made throughout the year,” Skelton said.

Villena said, “We’re working on our intensity and rebounding because we’re a smaller team this year. Each of us has stepped up and gone after every loose ball.”

The upperclassmen players have also adjusted to the new coaching staff while helping younger teammates.

“We’re approaching things differently this year with a roster of players that were on junior varsity last season,” Villena said. “The older players have to gather them together and let them know that everything will be fine.”

The Raiders will play eight to nine players in its rotation during a contest and has the flexibility of using each of them in different positions within the offensive system.

East Paulding returns to action Dec. 27 against South Gwinnett in a holiday tournament hosted by Allatoona High School in Acworth, before resuming region play at Paulding County High Jan. 3.

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