Lady Eagles look for different kind of consistency
By By BRUCE HIXON – Sports Editor
While most programs strive for consistency, the consistency the W.S. Neal Lady Blue Eagles basketball team has had over the last decade is not what they have in mind.
The two most common themes for W.S. Neal have been losing seasons and coaching changes.
"Learning how to win can be one of the toughest things for a program to do. It's important for us to have at least some success early in the season to give us some confidence and something positive to build on," said
W.S. Neal coach Steve Lambert.
Even early success did not save the Lady Blue Eagles last season. W.S. Neal won its first three games and then lost 20 of its next 21 on its way to a 4-20 season. That included a 15-game losing streak to end the season.
Lambert is the latest individual to try his luck at changing the Lady Blue Eagles fortunes. While Lambert has been active in basketball as Brewton Middle School coach the last three years, he has not coached at the high school level since he completed a stint at Elmore County that concluded with the 2000-01 season.
"It's been an easy transition for me going back to the high school level. In some respects, it's actually been easier. I was coaching boys and girls at BMS and I've just got girls here. I've also got a great assistant coach, Darla Curry," Lambert said. “The transition isn't as easy for the players, especially the seniors. I try to be sensitive to the fact I'm their fourth coach
in as many years. Those girls have to really love the game to stay with the program with everything they've gone through.”
The strength of the Lady Blue Eagles should be in their backcourt where W.S. Neal has both experience and what Lambert feels a lot of athleticism.
Tierra Andrews, a 5-3 junior, will probably start the season at the point guard spot.
Dominique Bailem, a 5-3 senior who is a transfer from Escambia County, could settle into the shooting guard role.
Carolyn Marshall, a 5-5 senior, will probably settle into the third guard position.
Shekinah Adams, a 5-2 senior, and Tiara Matthews, a 5-3 junior, are both expected to contribute in the backcourt.
Jessica Smith, a 5-8 junior, and Jolesia Likely, a 5-10 senior, will probably anchor the inside game.
Chelsea Gulley, a 5-8 senior, is also expected to contribute down low.
The W.S. Neal skipper said the Lady Blue Eagles have some tough roadblocks in their Class 3A Area 1 competition.
W.S. Neal Lady Blue Eagles Basketball Schedule
Nov. 22 McKenzie Home 6 p.m.
Nov. 28 Flomaton Home 6 p.m.
Nov. 29 Pleasant Home Away 5:30 p.m.
Dec. 6 Frisco City Home 6 p.m.
Dec. 8-10 Escambia County Tournament at Flomaton
Dec. 12 J.U. Blacksher Away 6 p.m.
Dec. 13 Georgiana Home 6 p.m.
Dec. 19-23 Florala Tournament
Jan. 5 Northview (Fla.) Away 6 p.m.
Jan. 6 Clarke County Home 6 p.m.
Jan. 10 T.R. Miller Away 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 12 Clarke County Away 6 p.m.
Jan. 13 Straughn Away 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 17 Northview (Fla.) Home 6 p.m.
Jan. 19 J.U. Blacksher Home 6 p.m.
Jan. 20 T.R. Miller Home 6 p.m.
Jan. 23 McKenzie Away 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 24 Straughn Home 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 27 Frisco City Away 6 p.m.
Jan. 30 Georgiana Away 6 p.m.
Jan. 31 Pleasant Home Home 6 p.m.
Feb. 3 Flomaton Away 6 p.m.
Feb. 7-11 Area Tournament (TBA)