As the point guard, Destiny Brewton has many responsibilities from handling the ball to leading and searching for an opening in the defense.
Brewton and her Laney teammates will get those directives tested the most today, when it’s paramount to just get the ball past midcourt.
The 2012-2013 Lady Wildcats are 30-0, one win away from earning the program’s fist Georgia High School Association state championship. But to get it, they will play Wesleyan and its deadly press at 3 p.m. today in the Class AA state championship game.
Against Wesleyan, the Lady Wildcats know they have to be patient – the Lady Wolves use a press that has overwhelmed teams in a deluge of turnovers. Those mistakes meant Wesleyan has won three of its four state playoff games by more than 40 points.
“I have to take my time,” Brewton said. “I have to get the ball past half court.”
Wesleyan is paced by Katie Frerking, an Auburn signee. Smart is wary of her and her team’s press that is powered by length.
Laney has tried to prepare for that by going through drills in practice. Sometimes, the starters will go up against as many as 10 defenders – if Laney can handle 10 in practice, half of that shouldn’t be impossible to deal with in an actual game.
The Lady Wildcats used a similar setup the previous week to prepare for Kendrick in the semifinals. The Lady Cherokees are in some ways similar to Wesleyan when it comes to using a press, though Laney head coach Otis Smart said Kendrick’s depended a little more on speed.
Laney did have turnover problems even in the 67-44 victory against Kendrick, but when the Lady Wildcats kept possession, they usually found easy layups.
That’s because the Lady Wildcats can cause problems offensively. Khadijiah Cave and Simone Smith are strong inside and Gemiya Bowman has proven to be a dependable finisher when needed. Bowman had four field goals in the first quarter of the semifinal.
Those three and the rest of the Lady Wildcats are all ready to deliver a title, which could be obtained if Laney keeps turnovers relatively low.
With a win, the Lady Wildcats cap a five-year run of consecutive state semifinal appearances with the biggest prize.
“What’s been missing is a state championship,” Smart said.