Rene Gomez is the person in charge of rebuilding a Lafayette Christian girls basketball program that has become known all too well for losing seasons and 40-point defeats.
Gomez, the new head coach of the Lady Cougars, is looking to build a winner. It is going to be a long, hard run in the mulberry patch, but Gomez has already gone to work with a receptive and young Lafayette Christian team.
The Lady Cougars and Gomez have gone back to the basketball fundamentals in the preseason workouts. And on this Lafayette Christian team there is one senior, one junior, four freshmen and two eighth grade girls.
The learning, the zone defense and the fast breaking have begun.
“We want to be competitive (this season). We’re evaluating talent. I want these girls to understand the game of basketball. There is only one way to go, and that is up. We’re looking for (good) decision making. We are looking to extend the pressure (on defense),” said Gomez.
The coach wants all out effort. He doesn’t want his players to give up on any play or any pass. Gomez wants the Lady Cougars to act like a winning basketball team. The coach wants hustle on defense, hustle on offense, and he wants his players to get off their feet.
Gomez expects teamwork, and he wants his team to turn a trapping defense into points on the other end of the basketball court. “We need to stick with it. We’re learning. We’re following the plan. We need repetition, and we need to work on our press. We have to learn how to pump fake and how to pass (better),” said Gomez.
Junior guard Caroline Cochran could help, and she is battling for a starting position with the Lady Cougars. Cochran is 5-foot-4.
“Caroline has a good shot,” said Gomez.
The Lafayette Christian head coach has spotted some other basketball skills with 5-foot-6 eighth grade forward Hana Stevens and freshman Harmony McCord. Lady Cougar guard Juleigh Haynes, a 5-foot-1 eighthgrader, has also stood out in the preseason practices.
“Coach Gomez expects everything from us. We’re working on defense and offense. We have to see the court (well),” said Haynes.
McCord is another girl who could help the Lady Cougars win as soon as this season. McCord is a 5-foot-6 forward.
“We need to set the pace, and we need to work the ball around,” said McCord.
Lafayette Christian also has a coach on the floor with senior guard Abbey Hudson, the lone returning starter for the Lady Cougars. Hudson is a girl with a smooth outside jump shot and a passion for playing defense.
“We can be a good team. We’ve got some ball handling, but we are going to need to step up,” said the 5foot-1 Hudson.
The Lady Cougars will open the season on Monday, Nov. 13 at home against Oak Mountain. And Lafayette Christian wants to set the tone for the whole season with an opening night win. The basketball game will tip off at 5:15 p.m.