Bulldogs buying in

Published 3:00 am Friday, December 25, 2015

Pike County first-year head coach Todd Reynolds may not be pleased with the Lady Bulldogs’ 2-5 record, but he said he knew this would be a rebuilding season.

“Anytime you are going to learn a new system there is going to be growing pains,” Reynolds said. “It’s all about getting adjusted and when you are so young you have to overcome a lot of fears.”

Reynolds’ roster includes only one senior and six eighth-graders. Players like eight grader Demetria Gilbert and freshman Precious Vaznaian are the future for Pike County and the way they are playing now may benefit them once area play begins.

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“It is fun to watch these really young ones begin to come into their own,” Reynolds said. “You know over time that they can only get better.”

Reynolds said the Bulldogs looked lost in early games this season. They were throwing the ball all over the court and missing easy layups. But during the last couple of games, those shots are finding the bottom of the net.

“It’s a game-by-game process,” Reynolds said. “We are going to have such a difficult January. That is when they are going to be really tested the most. There have been some winnable games in the first part of the season and that helps. I’ll be interested to see how they respond.”

Reynolds is trying to mentally prepare his players for what January and area play will bring.

“You’re trying to reduce the shock factor,” Reynolds said. “Everything we do is about getting better. It takes time, and you have to constantly remind them to keep battling and working hard.”

Reynolds is also teaching the finer points of basketball to his players, from how to dribble properly to learning to keep their heads up while pressing.

“They are beginning to understand that,” Reynolds said. “When I tell them they need to learn how to use their left, that is not me reinventing the rules of basketball. They need to be able to go left in varsity basketball to reduce mistakes. Slowly but surely, many of them have responded to that. It’s not me getting on to them. It’s me telling them what they need to do.”

Even though the Bulldogs want to make a deep run in the playoffs, it’s all about baby steps.

“I was thinking in the double’s philosophy,” Reynolds said. “If we won two games last year, than if we can win four to six (this year) and then the next year win 10-12. By the time these eighth-graders become sophomores and juniors, you have gotten to the point that you had envisioned.”

The Bulldogs will participate in the Red Level Tournament starting on Saturday before opening up area play on Jan. 2 against Daleville.