New LaFayette coach Travis Carswell evaluates his team for the first time

Published 6:01 pm Thursday, June 13, 2024

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LaFayette and Beulah’s girls basketball teams faced off on Thursday for a playdate at LaFayette High School. The Bobcats won the exhibition 40-9, but more importantly, the matchup served as an opportunity for newly hired Lafayette coach Travis Carswell to evaluate his team. 

The Bulldogs struggled throughout the matchup and did not find their first basket until the final moments of the first half. The Bulldogs are far from a complete product as Carswell and the team have only been practicing for two weeks. Thursday just served as a good opportunity for Carswell to evaluate the girls and figure out the areas of concern. 

“This is our second full week of practice,” Carswell said. “I was just looking for them to hustle and get back. I was mixing in different groups of five, and we also played a lot of our middle school girls because they’ve been working out with us. It was just an evaluation period.” 

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“We’re halfway there,” Carswell added. “Like I told the girls earlier, this is a playdate. Conditioning, obviously, was a factor. Some of these girls haven’t run since last year.” 

Carswell was hired in March to serve as the offensive coordinator for the football team and coach track. The opportunity to coach basketball became available after Juan Williams decided to step away from the role to focus on his other coaching responsibilities. 

LaFayette is a basketball school at heart, and the community has basketball in its DNA. However, the Lady Bulldogs have not seen much success as of late and Carswell will have to lead a tough rebuilding process. 

“It starts in the summer,” Carswell said. “I told the girls that championships are made in the summer. This a basketball school, a basketball community, so they were worried about what was on the scoreboard. I kept noticing that we were getting beat by effort points, blocking out and getting back. That told me that we’re not in shape. We’re not where we need to be competitively.” 

Carswell will have to start from the ground up with the Bulldogs’ program. Fundamentals were a big issue on Thursday and all of last season. 

LaFayette’s current roster is very young, and younger girls who are not set to compete on varsity will be working with the varsity program this summer. Carswell plans for the summer to be focused on developing the fundamentals of basketball. 

“This whole month of June and July is what we call our skills and drills academy,” Carswell said. “They come in every day, we work on layups and dribbling. I don’t have but maybe two girls that can handle the ball decently… We’re a long way off. We’ve got a long way to go.” 

Carswell has had several coaching stops during his tenure. Carswell coached college football for 15 years, with his most recent stop being at Tuskegee University. He also coached basketball at Thomasville. 

The rebuilding process begins now for LaFayette’s program, and Carswell has full faith in this team growing tremendously before the season tips off. 

“I can tell you one thing, this won’t be the same team you see come November,” Carswell said. “We’ve got four to five months to get ready condition-wise.”