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LaFayette girls basketball team begins summer play

LaFAYETTE — The Bulldogs girls basketball team have begun summer exhibitions for this year.

Last Thursday at LaFayette High School, the Bulldogs went 2-1 on the day defeating Loachapoka and Beulah and losing to Auburn.

“Right now, we’re trying to replace three or four starters,” Bulldogs head coach Michael Bratcher said. “Basically we’re trying to mesh, work on chemistry and come together.”

Although Bratcher said he has a good idea of what he wants the starting lineup to look like this upcoming season, the final lineup won’t be announced until minutes before the first game. A player who’s more than likely a lock to start, however, is sophomore Feliah Greer. This past season, Greer averaged over 18 points and 18 rebounds a game for the Bulldogs on her way to being named to the All-State team.

“She’s the best player on the court,” Bratcher said. “We played Auburn High School and she was still the best player on the court. I don’t think there’s anybody around here is better than her. If I put all the players in the area on the wall and said, ‘Let’s pick teams.’ She would be the first pick. Now there may be some girls like the girl from Auburn, who’s a freshman she made All-State last season as an eighth-grader, she does a couple of things that my girl [Greer] can’t do but my girl can do things that she can’t do. She’s an extremely tough match-up.”

The 5-foot-7-inch Greer often outworked taller opponents to maintain her 18 rebound a game average. Her strength and athleticism allow her to dominate on a regular basis, Bratcher said.

In regards to the rest of the team, Bratcher wants the team to improve on creating shots in the half-court offense.

“Last week, we really struggled with scoring unless we were running up and down the court,” he said. “I know that when we get to area play, get to area tournaments and hopefully beyond, we’re going to have to score in a half-court offense. We’re not going to be able to press everybody or turn them over as much. That’s when we’re at our best is when we’re running.”

Bratcher, the 2017-18 All-Valley Girls Basketball Coach of the Year, attributed last season’s ending one-point loss to Sand Rock to lack of scoring in half-court situations. He also clarified that the team will still press and run as much as possible but when the numbers aren’t there for the team on breaks and the offense has to reset, scoring opportunities must remain there in order for the team to succeed.

LaFayette returns to the court for a pair of Play Dates to end this week at Loachapoka on Thursday and at Beulah on Friday.