EA hitting court

Published 11:09 pm Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Basketballs have been pulled out and the Escambia Academy Lady Cougars have hit the court to prepare for the 2011-12 basketball season, which begins on Nov. 21.

The Lady Cougars are under new leadershisp this season as assistant headmaster and head girls basketball coach David Walker takes the reigns from athletic director Heath Gibson.

With the change comes a new offensive scheme as well as new defensive sets that the Lady Cougars have to learn in order to be prepared for their first game in the Sparta tournament.

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As practices continue to build the team, athletes make up the roster, Walker said.

“It’s been going good,” he said. “We have great athletes on our team. I don’t know how strong we are as a basketball team, but we have some great athletes.”

With a change in coaches comes different philosophies in how the game should be played.

Learning a new offensive philosophy has been taking up a large amount of time with the team, Walker said.

“We still need work learning my offense and philosophy,” he said. “I want us to play an up-tempo game, which means a lot of them will get in the game. It’s not like I can take five girls and teach them what I want to do. I have to teach it to 12 girls and make sure they all know what I want to do.”

In Walker’s philosophy, every player on the team gets a chance to let their talent shine.

Teaching the scheme to every girl takes time, but Walker said when it pays off, the team will score a lot of points.

“They like the offensive philosophy fine,” he said. “When they figure out how many points they are going to have the opportunity to score each game, they will really enjoy it. Keeping their concentration, while I’m teaching one group, so I don’t have to start from scratch with the other group is the hardest part.”

With a majority of the time being used to focus on the offense, the defensive side of the game has yet to be adjusted.

With the Lady Cougars used to an up-tempo man type of defense, they will need to learn a zone philosophy with Walker.

Once the Lady Cougars begin to learn the defense, they will see the different aspects that are thrown in to each scheme, Walker said.

“We haven’t worked as much defense as we have offense,” he said. “I think that we will be a good man-to-man team on defense. I have always been a zone coach, but with a lot of different gimmicks that go with it. Usually, we won’t play straight zone because I like to play box and one or triangle and two type things. It all depends on how we take to everything.”

Each day that passes gets the Lady Cougars one day closer to their first game.

With so much still to learn and the full team just now practicing due to volleyball season, a lot of work is still to be done before the season, Walker said.

“We only have 11 practices left,” he said. “We have a lot of work left to do, and we are nowhere near ready to play a game yet. We are still learning so much of our offense not to mention our defense. Volleyball just ended last week, so we have had three or four practices with everyone present.”

The Lady Cougars first game will be on Nov. 21 when they travel to Sparta Academy for a tournament.