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Salem first year head coach ShaLisha Davis, middle, stands with players Kianna Bell, left and Cassidy Cook, right.

SALEM SEMINOLES

Region 4-AAAA

GIRLS

COACH: ShaLisha Davis

2018-19 RECORD: 3-18

RETURNING REGULARS:

Trinayah Harris, Jr.

Makenzie Paul, Soph.

Kianna Bell, Sr.

Cassidy Cook, Jr.

WHO TO WATCH:

Sadira Dailey-Wislon, Sr.

Iyanna Smith, Soph.

OUTLOOK: The Salem girls basketball team has had some struggling times in the last two seasons.

The Seminoles have just combined four wins from the past two seasons with three coming last season, causing some dramatic changes to both the roster and the coaching staff.

The Seminoles graduated five seniors from last season, with only two on the team this upcoming season. The Seminoles also parted ways with coach Delvin Wilson and tabbed ShaLisha Davis as his replacement.

A former head coach at Central Gwinnett, Davis’s tenure as the Black Knights head coach includes a couple of playoff appearances. Coach Davis believes that, despite her new situation being completely different, the same goal for the upcoming season remains the same.

“Getting them to push to win and motivating them,” Davis said. “Now it is all about chemistry and teamwork.”

Davis not only wants to bring in a different attitude for these young ladies, but to also keep the makeup of this team’s identity over the years.

“They are pretty tough,” Davis said. “We are short, but we pack a big punch. We are small, but we are in your chest for four quarters.”

Keeping that toughness within the team despite having a small group of players is something that will contribute to them winning games, Davis said.

The Seminoles struggled with not only winning games and being a disciplined team, but also having that structure from top to bottom. Having players hold each other accountable for their actions is very important in the eyes of Davis and it starts with her two seniors, Kianna Bell and Cassidy Cook.

Bell, who was the third leading scorer on the team last season, must take a step forward in being one of the leaders for this squad. A member of the varsity team since her sophomore year, Bell believes that her and her teammates were falling short in some departments.

“For us really, we just lacked heart and passion,” Bell said. “But this year, coach (Davis) is bringing it out of us. We have been going through it with coach, but it is worth it.”

The confidence that she is putting in her coach is what can drive them to winning more and more games and potentially competing for a playoff spot in the region, Bell thinks.

Although coach Davis knows that it will not happen overnight, the process for her is something she will enjoy throughout the year.

The other leader, Cook, was also present during the past two seasons of the Seminoles struggling, cited coach Davis’s change-of-pace as a plus for how she plays basketball.

“It makes playing basketball a lot more fun,” Cook said. “This year, we are all bringing heart to the game and we are showing that we are all actually here to win.”

Knowing she does not have too many off nights this upcoming season, Davis is looking forward to the challenge of dealing with that and implementing that mindset into her players.

“We are going to be battle tested early in the season and we are going to be battle tested throughout the season,” Davis said. “Game by game, practice by practice, we going to take it one day at a time.”

With Davis bringing her defensive mindset and style of coaching to this team, the Seminoles look to transform their program to a winning one. A program that can compete in Region 4-AAAA and can make some playoff appearances in the future.

The Salem Seminoles will kick off their season against KIPP Atlanta on Nov. 12.

Sports Editor

A 2017 graduate of the University of North Georgia, Colin joined the Rockdale/Newton Citizen in March of 2018 as the papers' full-time sports editor. A 2013 graduate of Jackson County High School, Colin received a golf scholarship to Andrew College.