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Beulah basketball holds Meet the Bobcats

With basketball season right around the corner, the Beulah Bobcats showed their fans what is in store for them during the 2020-21 basketball season, as each team held a scrimmage that lasted about 20 minutes each.

The Girls

The Bobcats were extremely young a year ago, as most of their main contributors were made up of freshmen and sophomores. They finished with an 8-14 record but reached the first round of the playoffs after hosting the area championship for the first time in school history.

The team stayed together and with its newly gained experience, head coach Sabrina Milligan hopes Beulah can take the next step.

“We’re hoping to take another step,” Milligan said. “Our goal this year is to have that subregional game here. In order for that to happen, we have to win a regular-season area and win the area tournament. We’re trying to take the step forward, and I’m pretty excited about it. We have the experience, so there’s a possibility that can actually happen.”

The Bobcats top three players were Savanna Clements, Brandy Phillips, both of which are now sophomores and Kaite Morris, who is now a junior. Milligan has seen all three of these players take the next step mentally, which can help achieve the team’s ultimate goal.

“Brandy is understanding the game more. Savanna is making smarter decisions with the ball, so we’re turning the corner a little bit and getting better,” Milligan said. “We’re actually getting offensive rebounds tonight, so I’m hopeful we can keep putting those drills in and putting them into game situations where we can keep getting better.”

Rebounding was one of the Bobcats’ weakest areas last season, as they struggled to grab second-chance opportunities almost all season. With a little bit more height as a team in 2020-21 and focusing on that weak point more this season, Milligan wants to see her squad corral more rebounds in the future.

Other areas the girls needed to improve on was scoring in the half-court set and finishing layups on fastbreak opportunities.

“We have to convert layups. We have to play sound defense and we have to rebound,” Milligan said. “We had a lot of live turnovers, which led to the other team to score easy baskets. Our goal is to cut that down a lot. I know we can have turnovers, but we don’t want the other team just running down the floor and laying it up, and then we’re trying to play catchup. We’re not very tall.  My most skilled and experienced players are shorter than me, and I’m 5-foot-7, so we have to box out more as a team.”

Freshmen Abrianna Green, Elizabeth Hancock and eighth-grader Ty’kasia Williams are three of the new players that Milligan is excited about heading into the season.

“They’re going to see some minutes. They’re going to go up and down the court,” Milligan said. “If we keep playing, hopefully by January comes, we’ll have enough experience that we’re able to do a little something and make some damage in the playoffs.”

The Boys

The 2019-20 season was rough on the boys’ basketball team, as they struggled the entire season. They only won one game and, in the final part of the season, were forced to play mostly with their junior varsity players, but the future is brighter for the Bobcats in 2020-21.

The Bobcats have 11 players on their roster this season, six of which are freshmen that will provide serious minutes for first-year head coach Mike Power.

“It’s pretty much a brand new team and they’re hungry,” Power said. “They want to come here. They want to establish a winning culture.”

Power has spent the last eight years at Valley High School as the junior varsity head coach. Now in his first varsity coaching job, he is ready for the season.

“I’m really excited. We have a good crew,”  Power said. “Of my 11 guys, six of them are freshmen, two seniors a couple of juniors and a sophomore.”

The freshmen showed what they could do on the court on Wednesday, as most of the points scored in the exhibition game,  were scored by a freshman.

“We have some good young guys,” Power said.  “The future is bright. Going from junior high ball to varsity ball is a big difference,  so I hope my guys can handle it. I’m liking what I’m seeing so far.”

Freshman LT Fitzpatrick is one of the players to watch on the team this season. He was able to score in transition a lot on Wednesday and even threw down a dunk off one foot. Junior TJ Washington will bring the leadership for Power on the court.

Freshman Adem Crim and junior Ladarrrin Shealy were two other players that Power mentioned.

The Bobcats are going to play fast during the 2020-21 season. Defensively, they are going to trap a lot to try and force a quick turnover at mid-court.

“We’re trying to force the ball where we can take advantage of our athleticism to create points off our defense,” Power said. “That’s my goal here is to create turnovers by winning the 50-50  balls, diving on the ground for those balls and going from there to get points off turnovers.”

Beulah starts its season on Nov. 13 on the road against Beauregard.