Coaches at the Class 1A level often find themselves recruiting athletes in their own school's hallways because they want to get the best athletes on the floor. Beckville girls' basketball coach Britney Redfearn did that a year ago and found some great role players.
Redfearn was also pleased this summer when some of her players took the initiative to participate in a 'playday' at Gary's Bobcat Gymnasium, taking on Overton as well as the Lady Bobcats.
The Beckville coach said she is hoping that her players will get some more work during the summer as athletes from Carlisle and New Summerfield are looking to work up dates for more action on the hardwood.
Redfearn said it's difficult to get consistency at a small school with so many athletes playing a variety of sports throughout the year. She admitted that any time on the court is vital to her team's vital success.
"It's tough on the athletes and coaches," Redfearn admitted. "I feel like the success we had last year was, for the most part, the hard work of the role players. I think the particular players who stepped up and were great contributors to our team last year surprised others. I also think they surprised themselves.
"This is not a negative comment toward them, but it showed that you don't have to be a great basketball player to be an important contributor."
Redfearn, who will be beginning her third year as head coach of the Ladycats, has led the squad to a pair of playoff berths, with the 2011-12 team posting a 17-14 record, including a bi-district victory over New Summerfield.
Three key players will be missing from last year's team, with the graduation of guard Cheyenne Haynes and post players T'Ouja Adams and Kari Courtney.
"We're going to miss those three a lot this year and I'm going to be looking for players to step up and take their places," the coach said. "T'Ouja and Cheyenne were key players for us and Kari stepped in as one of those role players that was very important to our success as well.
"One of the areas Kari helped us was her leadership ability, which was key. She brought in so much experience from softball and helped a lot with team unity and giving me some quality minutes on the floor."
Redfearn used a system that utilizes a large amount of substitutions during the game. The coach explained that when her players bought into the style it really helped the squad.
"Once the girls figured out that what we were trying to do worked well, it made them feel better about their duties on the team. Then, instead of worrying about the quantity of minutes, they worried more about the quality of minutes.
"A lot of time an offense that uses a lot of substituting works because it creates confusion with the other team. The substitution system really works, although you can't use it in every single situation."
Redfearn said she hopes to continue to 'farm' from the junior high program, where the athletes are taught the same principles that are taught on the high school level. She said she hopes that the two-year run in the playoffs can continue and more athletes will want to get involved in the program.
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