Coach Speak: Neek & Ang Preview the Grace Academy Rams
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If you haven’t heard, enthusiasm surrounding Grace Christian Academy girls’ basketball is quickly shifting intothe light. The gloom cloud that has recently hovered over the Lady Rams after a string of below averageseasons is looked to be chased away by…
If you haven’t heard, enthusiasm surrounding Grace Christian Academy girls’ basketball is quickly shifting into
the light. The gloom cloud that has recently hovered over the Lady Rams after a string of below average
seasons is looked to be chased away by Co-Head Coaches, Dominic James and Angela Phillips. [Neek] James, a
Marquette Hall of Famer and former professional basketball player and [Ang] Phillips once the starting point
guard of the University of Kentucky, are a husband-and-wife coaching duo and the new stewards of the
program. Neek and Ang are very optimistic about changing the climate around GCA girls basketball. Thanks to
a very young and talented core group of girls, new expectations for a brighter future lays ahead for the Lady
Rams. Now let’s find out who these rays of sunshine are that have broken through the clouds for Grace.
I touched base with Neek regarding their team, and here are my notes:
A natural floor general and playmaker at its finest! Alexis, who goes by “Lexi”, hasrnonlookers holding their breath as she weaves through traffic on fast breaks. Her phenomenal court vision andrnability to deliver pin accurate cross court passes with either hand will have you shaking your head in disbeliefrnas she leads her teammates to easy baskets time and time again. Although Lexi’s passing is her best attributernas a player, make no mistake about it, she can take over a game at the drop of a dime, pun intended. She alsornpossesses an aggressive scorer’s mentality, scoring in bunches whenever her team calls on her. Lexi is as toughrnand competitive as they come. As much as she loves getting her assists or breaking an defenders ankles to getrna bucket, winning is ultimately the only statistic that concerns her. You couldn’t ask for anything more in arnpoint guard which is exactly why she has already caught the attention of college programs.
I challenge anyone to find a more committed and harder working player than AbbyrnRoberts. A transfer from CAK, Abby has made herself at home at Grace. Abby is a laser focused lead byrnexample combo guard that makes her presence felt by pushing herself to dominate her position on both endsrnof the floor. Not many players can do that, Abby can! To say she always plays with a chip on her shoulderrnwould be disrespectful to the passion she plays with, it’s more like a boulder. Abby prides herself to rise to thernoccasion at the biggest moments and against the best competition. Abby is certainly a jack of all trades! Toughrndefensively that can shut down the other team’s best player while also able to carry the load offensively forrnher team. She has a tight handle that shifts defenders allowing her to get to her spots on the court where shernexcels with deadly mid-range pull-ups and step backs that most players lack in their arsenal. Her work-ethicrnsets her apart and you can anticipate her to only continue to get better. That’s scary for any of her opponents.rnThe attention she garners is beginning to attract the eyes to play on the next level.
SHOOTER! You might hear the other team’s bench yelling that a lot. But yournwouldn’t expect to hear that often about a player at the 4 or 5 position. But position is of no concern forrnMattie. The only 4-5 that catches Mattie’s attention is the 4 or 5 threes she can hit in a game. Her lack ofrnhesitation and quick release is a sign of her confidence in her strength to shoot the long ball. Her ability to pickrnand pop stretches the floor and forces the defense into long closeouts and rotations that Grace can takernadvantage of. Mattie runs the floor very well and has good footwork if she chooses to utilize her size in thernlow post. As Mattie gets stronger and more experienced her upside looks tremendous.
You would be hard-pressed to find a girl stronger or tougher than Hayden Hill. A dualrnsport athlete, Hayden is a standout softball player that could make many people question if basketball isrnperhaps not her primary sport. Hayden loves to compete, and that’s a great thing for the Coaches at Gracernbecause with Alexis Hammock being out for the first few weeks Hayden will be challenged to wear manyrndifferent hats for the Rams this season. One of those hats will include spending some time at point guard.rnHayden is tough defensively and doesn’t mind one bit to challenge smaller quicker guards on the perimeter orrnto bang and brawl down low with players that have a much bigger size advantage. Hill is the type of playerrnevery coach loves, and every team needs.
Duvall is a diamond in the rough for the Lady Rams program. Aniyah has a veryrngood feel for the game along with a great basketball IQ. Her agility and strength allow for her to play inside orrnoutside. A’Naiyah is a tremendous asset on the defensive end of the court because she is one of the fewrnplayers that can guard any position on the floor. Coach Neek and Ang have high expectations for Duvall thisrnseason and believe she is a bright spot for this team. If aggressive, Duvall can be a force to be reckoned with.
Sarah Beth Butler
Sarah Beth Butler
The oldest player on the team as a sophomore, the Rams will rely heavily onrnButler’s leadership. Sara Beth’s specialty is demonstrated in being a confident 3-point shooter and she hasrnshown the ability to heat up fast. She does a great job of running in the fast break for spot up transition 3’s thatrnwill allow the Rams to light up the scoreboard in a hurry. Sara Beth will also be depended on to log meaningfulrnminutes at point guard in the absence of Hammock.