It’s a new year, but Winterboro coach Marty Holland can’t shake the feeling that the Bulldogs (6-0, with two victories by forfeit) are starting the season over.
“It really does feel like we went back to the beginning of the year almost,” Holland said. “We went back and taught some basics this week. Just little things, going over plays. Stuff you wouldn’t normally teach in the middle of the season.”
It’s little surprise the Winterboro coach feels the need to hit the reset button. His team returned from a two-week quarantine Dec. 20. Saturday’s home showdown with Childersburg (9-4 with one victory by forfeit) will be the Bulldogs’ first game since Dec. 4.
When Winterboro was able to play, the Bulldogs looked dominant. Holland’s group won three of four games by at least 36 points.
The only team to play them tougher was Childersburg, but the Bulldogs still fought their way to a five-point victory Dec. 2.
“(Childersburg coach Gavin) King is a great coach,” Holland said. “He had those girls playing. I remember our girls being a little bit nervous. I could see it in their eyes, given the past history they’ve had with Childersburg. … We knew they (our girls) had the talent, but we had to prove it to the world.”
Childersburg entered that game winner of the last eight matchups between the schools, with the last six games in the series decided by at least 16 points. The game Dec. 2 seemed destined to end in a similar fashion when Winterboro trailed by 10-plus points at halftime.
Holland said two seventh-graders, Katelyn Brown and Katelyn Jones, helped the team weather early foul trouble.
“I’ll tell you right now, Katelyn Brown is the force that makes it go,” Holland said. “She’s our defender. She’s our rebounder. She brings the energy, she brings it, and she will probably, definitely be one of the best players to ever come through Winterboro. Katelyn Jones, right behind her.”
As good as Brown is, she’s not yet the force her older sister, sophomore Kya Brown, is on the court for Winterboro. Holland said Kya Brown and senior Brianna Jackson put together incredible performances in the victory, but incredible seems to be pretty routine for those two.
Holland said Brown is averaging around 24 points per game. The Winterboro coach said he could count on Jackson to score 12-14 points of her own while also finishing with 12-13 rebounds per game this season.
“Kya and Bri are just two dominant players, man, and they stand out a little more than the rest,” Holland said.
Holland isn’t the only one impressed. When Winterboro takes the court on Saturday afternoon, the Bulldogs will do so as the No. 5 team in Class 1A.
The Winterboro coach said that ranking was a confidence boost for the girls, but his team is far from satisfied. Holland said this group he’s coaching this season believes it’s capable of making a deep run in the postseason.
“Like I tell them all the time, talking about it is not enough,” Holland said. “They’re going to have to show it, they’re going to have to prove. They’re going to have to show people that Winterboro is for real. Cause we have the talent. … We just gotta do it.”