cloudyn.png
Wednesday August 4th, 2021 2:45AM

Lady Falcons ready to show off new-look, younger group

By Jeff Hart Sports Reporter
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

FLOWERY BRANCH — After a somewhat brief pause, “young,” was all Flowery Branch girls basketball coach Courtney Newton-Gonzalez could muster for her initial description of her 2019-20 team.

Upon further review, however -- and after a more elongated pause than the first -- you could almost see the smile on Newton-Gonzalez’s face form through the phone.

“We have so many young players but we have so much talent as well,” she said. “What is interesting is that they are bringing in a whole new, and fun, dynamic to the program. It’s refreshing in the sense that there is a lot more of teaching the game and the system. It’s a whole new challenge and I’m loving it...so far.”

For fans that have followed the Lady Falcons, they know Newton-Gonzalez has led them to their best four-year run in program history with three semifinals and one state championship game appearance. But gone are guards Caroline Wysocki, Ashley Scott, and Ashley Woodroffe, who helped lead the Lady Falcons to another semifinal appearance in 2019, in Class 4A. Last season saw the first wave of that core -- Taniyah Worth and Lexi Sengkhemmee -- move on to the college ranks. Only one senior remains on the roster from that group and just two juniors, though both post-Ashlee Locke and point guard Morgan Aguilar were integral parts of last year’s state playoff team.

Now in her fifth season at her alma mater, Newton-Gonzalez finds herself in more of a reloading mode than when she first arrived to find a young roster dotted with nearly half-a-dozen next-level players. Five sophomores and three freshmen dominate the current roster but Newton-Gonzalez said they may be further along than her initial group in 2015-16.

Three of those freshmen -- Keidra Young, Caloni Young, Bella Brick -- are expected to take on significant minutes early on with Keidra Young and sophomore Shaina Kriews expected to be in the starting lineup. Sophomores Alana Veiga and Emilee Scott also should see plenty of action.

But Newton-Gonzalez and assistant coach Cierra Jackson are not anticipating many changes in their up-tempo style.

“Every year is different even if you have a lot of the same team returning,” Newton-Gonzalez said. “There’s always new kids coming in and others leaving. We will still play our aggressive pressure defense and push the ball on offense.”

And Newton-Gonzalez said based on preseason practices, her latest group could give her an element they haven’t been accustomed to in years past.

“The last few years we were very senior-driven and really didn’t go more than 6 or 7 deep in most games,” she said. “We feel right now we have 10 girls that every day, every game, could do something to win a game. I see 10 or 11 girls playing every game. That is a new dynamic for us so utilizing all of them will be a challenge.”

The Lady Falcons will tip off the 2019-20 season Tuesday on the road against Class 6A Apalachee. Their home-opener is scheduled for Nov. 19 against Class 3A-ranked Dawson County. They should also be considered an early favorite to repeat as Region 7-4A champions

If the early season practices are any indication, Newton-Gonzalez is already having a hard time containing her own excitement.

“These young girls are bringing so much energy to practices it’s hard not to share that with them,” Newton-Gonzalez said. “The practices are so competitive. They are wanting to learn and are asking a lot of the right questions because they are all battling for the same spots on the floor.

“We feel there is enough talent that if someone is having an off-night someone else is right down the bench that can pick them up. I think we have a chance to be pretty good this year but there is also a lot these girls still need to get better at and learn.

“But based on how they’ve come in from the beginning of camp and into the start of the season, I like where we’re headed. It should be a real fun year and we’re ready to get going.”

© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Lady Falcons ready to show off new-look, younger group
After a somewhat brief pause, “young,” was all Flowery Branch girls basketball coach Courtney Newton-Gonzalez could muster for her initial description of her 2019-20 team...
8:06AM ( 2 minutes ago )
Playoffs get under way with huge matchups on Jacobs Media airwaves
The Jacobs Media family of stations on Friday night will open the playoff season in style with three big matchups on air, and streaming, in the first round Georgia High School Association playoffs...
8:04AM ( 4 minutes ago )
Updated
Georgia Tech rolls past Elon on rough shooting night
Georgia Tech was mostly ice cold early, but Michael Devoe was hot all night on the way to tying his career-high with 22 points to lead the Yellow Jackets to a 64-41 win over Elon on a night where both teams had a tough time finding the basket.
11:34PM ( 8 hours ago )
Sports
Girls basketball: Buford opens with rout of Class 7A North Forsyth
The Buford girls opened their 2019-20 season with a solid 64-43 win over Class 7A North Forysth Saturday at The Buford Arena in the North Georgia High School Showcase...
10:31AM ( 1 day ago )
Girls basketball: Jefferson rallies past Dawson County in season openers
In a battle of ranked teams to open the 2019-20 season, the Jefferson girls took a 54-47 win over Dawson County Saturday in The North Georgia High School Showcase at The Buford Arena...
2:58PM ( 2 days ago )
Week 12 wrap: Tough night for area teams in regular season finish
The regular season of the 2019 prep football season came to end for many northeast Georgia teams on Friday night...
2:27AM ( 3 days ago )
High School Sports
VIDEO: Lady Falcons fall to Carver in Class 4A semifinals
Olivia Cochran scored 29 points and pulled 16 rebounds to lead the Carver Lady Tigers (31-0) past Flowery Branch, 74-70, in the Class 4A semifinals Saturday at Fort Valley State University.
8:30PM ( 8 months ago )
Playoff basketball: Buford, Lady Falcons hope to keep rolling toward Macon
This time last year, both the Flowery Branch and Buford girls basketball teams were steamrolling toward a showdown in the Class 5A finals. Off the court, they are now in different classifications. On the court, little has changed as both teams have been dominating in the 2019 playoffs...
9:23AM ( 8 months ago )
VIDEO: Branch girls survive Henry County; Final Four bound
Class 4A No. 3-ranked Flowery Branch rallied in the final period to knock off second-ranked Henry County 54-50 in the quarterfinals of the Class 4A state playoffs Tuesday night in front of a packed house...
10:44PM ( 8 months ago )
Girls basketball playoffs: Woodroffe and Wysocki lead Falcons to Sweet 16
Up 7-4 with 5:44 left on the first quarter clock, Ashley Woodroffe and Caroline Wysocki’s defensive play sparked a 30-7 run in the first half to pace Flowery Branch in a 70-43 win over Pickens County Friday night in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs.
9:48PM ( 8 months ago )
Q&A: Newton-Gonzalez says seniors, balance key to Lady Falcons' latest run
AccessWDUN's Jeff Hart caught up with Flowery Branch girls coach Courtney Newton-Gonzalez to discuss the Lady Falcons' recent 13-game win streak and whether they can put a repeat playoff run together...
8:03AM ( 9 months ago )