COLLEGE BASKETBALL: GHC women hope to get healthy soon
Georgia Highlands women’s head coach Brandan Harrell knows he has a team of talented players who can do great things this season. He just has to be patient to get them all on the court at the same time.
The Lady Chargers began the 2018-19 basketball season last weekend with only six players on the active roster after a series of injuries and off-season surgeries sidelined four players.
“It’s not an excuse, but in reality, in the last two calendar years, our program has had 10 players have surgeries,” Harrell said. “It’s something we’ve dealt with. We don’t feel like we’re cursed, we’re hoping that wave is over. But when we are all healthy, I’ll take my 10 against anybody. That’s how impressed I am with the type of talent that we have.”
The women’s team is ranked 18th in the NJCAA preseason poll and went 1-1 last weekend at the Walters State Tip-Off Classic in Tennessee to open the season. Even with the slim roster, GHC defeated Roane State 88-57 on Saturday after falling to No. 9 Walters State 69-55 on Friday.
Transfers Ciara Thompson and Destiny Marshall led the way for the Lady Chargers, with Thompson scoring 20 points against Walters and Marshall scoring 25 against Roane.
“We really like our group. They aren’t afraid to be challenged and they respond,” Harrell said.
“We love the progress we’ve made so far. We’re a little thin, which affects how we play a little bit … but we’ve tried to maintain our style of play, even through this period where we’re only going to have six players available. And we expect it to be like that over the next two or three weeks.”
Only two players with significant playing time — Cierrah Perdue and Sharai Lay — return to the team this season. Perdue only played in 10 games last year due to a meniscus injury, which she recently had repaired, while Lay missed several games last year with a broken finger.
Another guard, Ja’lyn Reese, tore an ACL in the second game of last season and is nearing the end of her recovery. Harrell expects freshmen Jahnarria Brown and Nijeria Jordan to get a lot of playing time
Things will get real competitive really quickly for Georgia Highlands as it plays its first conference game Saturday at Andrew College and opens its home schedule Wednesday against GCAA foe Southern Crescent Tech.
“We’ll play almost everybody in our conference once before Christmas. So I think once the semester break gets here we’ll kind of have an idea of how things are going to shake out,” Harrell said.
The Lady Chargers’ schedule before January also includes a road trip out to Idaho and a string of games against Top-25 teams, only one of which is on their home court — Nov. 24 against Walters State.