The Commerce High School girls’ basketball team is pursuing a simple goal this season. The Lady Tigers want to discover their own strongest court performance, coach Rex Gregg said.
“I’m not worried about anyone else,” he added. “We are just focusing on being able to get the best we can possibly get out of our team, whatever that may be.”
Gregg took over the Lady Tigers’ program following the unexpected resignation of Eddie McCurley, who quit right before the team’s summer basketball camp. He took a job coaching the Hart County boys.
While upset with McCurley’s departure, team members this summer indicated their eagerness to continue building the program. The Lady Tigers finished last season 8-14 overall and 5-8 in Region 8-A, after a dismal 3-22 record overall in 2009-2010.
The squad’s most talented player, Jasmine Grier, graduated and is now playing for Central Georgia Technical College in Macon. Overcoming Grier’s absence will be difficult, Gregg said, given her skill and respect as the region’s player of the year.
“She is a key loss,” Gregg said.
He expects senior guard Drea Mathis and sophomore post player Hannah Davis, among the taller players at 5-foot-9-inches, to help fill Grier’s void. Sophomore Lily Mather, named as all-region honorable mention last year, also will be one of the team’s central figures. Seniors Allie Morgan and Erica Greene round out the starting five.
“There are a lot of parts there. You have to get the ball to (Mathis and Davis),” Gregg said, in discussing the two players specifically. “We have to get better fundamentals of basketball, really, shooting, passing, dribbling.”
He also admits to taking a different approach with the girls’ team than he has in the past with the boys he has coached — including the football team’s offense.
Gregg is curbing his instinct to raise his voice, he said with a shrug and a smile.
Players are responding.
“They are really working hard, giving a lot of effort,” Gregg said.
As for the region outlook, Gregg said he expects Towns County (23-7 last year) will continue to play strongly, along with Athens Christian.
Commerce opens its season with back-to-back games against Oglethorpe County. The first game is 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 29 in Lexington, and the second contest is scheduled for 7 p.m. at home on Dec. 2.