Photo by Derrick Mahone
Lovejoy guard Navilla Paul scored 12 points on Friday when the Lady Wildcats’ win over Morrow. She will try again today to help Lovejoy with another win as it plays at Morrow in a Region 4-AAAA game.
Having a third coach in as many seasons to lead the Lovejoy girls’ program hasn’t been that big of an adjustment for this season’s team.
New coach Leon Dillard said the biggest reason is that not many players returned from the previous two seasons.
Fresh off its first state playoff appearance in several seasons, last season’s coach Arthur Carter stepped down over the summer to concentrate on the softball program and his athletics director duties.
Since Dillard was a member of the school’s football staff, he had to juggle his schedule this fall to make early season practices. Lovejoy’s football team played for the Class AAAA championship in early December.
“It was real tough on the girls because we had to practice later in the day,” Dillard said. “It made for some long hours.”
Prior to the state football championship game, the Lady Wildcats played six games, winning half.
Since being devoted full-time to basketball, Lovejoy has played eight games and has gone 4-4 during that span. Heading into tonight’s Region 4-AAAA game at Morrow, the Lady Wildcats are 7-7 overall and 5-6 in the region.
Lovejoy defeated Morrow 50-45 on Friday before losing to region leader Forest Park on Saturday.
Dillard said a quick turnaround against Morrow shouldn’t pose a problem for either team.
“I don’t anticipate they will be changing anything,” he said. “We are basically going to do the same thing.”
Down early in the game last week against Morrow, the Lady Wildcats turned up their defensive pressure to get back into the game. Lovejoy took a commanding lead in the contest late in the second quarter, but struggled in the third quarter.
The Wildcats were able to hang on for the win with some free-throw shooting late in the contest.
“In the third quarter, Morrow did a better job of handling our defensive pressure,” Dillard said. “Our defense was able to trigger some offense against Morrow. We needed that win against them.”
The Lady Wildcats are also in desperate need of another win. They have lost three of their last four games coming into this evening’s game.
All girls games start at 6 p.m. with the boys games to follow.
Luella at Newton
Lovejoy at Morrow
North Clayton at Mundy’s Mill
Banneker at Forest Park
Jonesboro at Tri-Cities
Creekside at Mount Zion
Dutchtown at Woodland
Jones County at Ola
Griffin at Union Grove
Jackson at Stockbridge
Locust Grove at Drew
Strong Rock at Paideia