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Goose Creek High School
Goose Creek

Lady Gators looking for next stars on hardwood

 

By Rob Gantt

Special to the HSSR

GOOSE CREEK – The defending Class 5A champions are looking to repeat on the big stage but it’s still too early to tell whether the Goose Creek High School girls basketball team can find that “nitro.”

The Lady Gators lost two key pieces off last year’s squad, guard Mariah Linney (Charlotte) and forward Ericka Broughton (C of C).

“You’ve got a lot of the same parts but it’s kind of like having a fast car and not having the nitro in there,” GCHS coach Tim Baldwin said. “Mariah was the nitro. When you played that really good team and had to hit the nitro to stay with them, that was Mariah. We’ve still got a fast car but not sure how fast we’re going to be yet.”

Linney, a guard, reeled in all sorts of postseason honors after powering the Lady Gators to the crown. Broughton was a key player in the post before suffering a season-ending injury.

Goose Creek was 27-1 last season.

There are a handful of players in the backcourt with substantial experience returning to possibly help ease the sting of losing Linney. Sophomore guard Aniyah Oliver and junior Ciera Shivers averaged 8.3 points and 7.4 points last year. They combined for 6.2 assists and 4.1 steals. Junior Mary Davis (3.7 PPG), sophomore Kolia Adams (3.4 PPG) and senior Cali White (4.3 PPG) add to Goose Creek’s quality depth. Davis is also a small forward and helps out around the bucket. She averaged 3.2 rebounds.

Around the basket, junior forward Shayla Nelson looks like the cornerstone. She averaged 12.6 points and 6.6 boards a game last season, capped by a stellar performance against Wade Hampton in the championship game. She had 22 points and 13 boards against the Lady Generals.

More players expected to contribute for the Lady Gators are forwards Daphney Saylor, Jasmine Stanley and Sommer Goodman and guard Arianna Scott. Saylor averaged 4.9 points and 3.9 rebounds and Goodman pulled down 4.1 boards a game.

The Lady Gators open the season on Nov. 30 against Bishop England.

“We’ve got a lot of talented kids and the tough thing is figuring out how to play them all,” Baldwin said. “My concern is who is going to be the next stars. You’ve got to have those great players to set the tone.”

 

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