Southeast Raleigh girls’ basketball coach Nicole Meyers started to address her team during a timeout in a scrimmage last week. She stopped herself as she remembered the calendar still read November and not March.
“I caught myself,” Meyers said. “I had to change my mindset. I was holding them to that standard we have in March. I can’t coach them like a March team yet because it’s just November.
“This is a new group with a new identity.”
March basketball is still very much the goal for the Bulldogs, who return ACC recruits Amber Richardson (N.C. State) and Jade Phillips (Syracuse) from a team that reached the 4A state championship game last season.
Richardson, who led 26-3 Southeast Raleigh in scoring last season, and Phillips, who was a breakout performer in the playoff run, are 5-foot-11 versatile players who can control games with their scoring and defensive play.
“We’re going to surprise a lot of people, even though we’ve got some new faces,” Richardson said of the Bulldogs.
The biggest adjustment for Phillips and Richardson will be an increased team leadership role.
“When things got more difficult and times were tough on the court in the past, I tended to be silent,” Phillips said. “Now I have to be the one making sure we talk about those things on the court so we can quickly make the corrections we need to.”
Meyers, who has led Southeast Raleigh to the regionals each of the past three seasons, agrees.
“In the past, they’ve deferred to the upperclassmen,” Meyers said. “They’ve been leaders by example, but now they’ve got to do it verbally on the court. They’re going to have to step out of that old comfort zone for us to excel.”
The Bulldogs have added two key high profile players in six-foot sophomore post player Tamia Hicks who played at Enloe last year and freshman guard Jada McMillian.
“We’ve typically always been strong guards-wise, but we’ve lacked that big post presence since 2010,” Meyers said. “I feel like we’ve got a chance to be more balanced inside-out with the addition of Tamia.”
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