New-look Lady Trojans eyeing playoff return

BY MASON WITTNER
THE TIMES-GEORGIAN

A season removed from posting a 24-7 record and making an appearance in the Class AAAAA state quarterfinals, the Carrollton High School girls' basketball team tipped off its 2018-19 campaign with a 51-33 victory over Fayette County on Saturday, Nov. 24, on Criswell Court.

Carrollton head coach Shon Thomaston has been pleased with the progress he's seen from the Lady Trojans (1-0) throughout the preseason.

"They're all good kids, first and foremost, and that makes them really easy to coach," Thomaston said. "Our practices have been really good. Everything has been upbeat around here, and I'm just excited to see them play well together."

Perhaps the greatest challenge for Thomaston this season will be conducting a virtual reset of his lineup. After graduating seven seniors from last season's successful squad, the Lady Trojans return just one starter in sophomore point guard and Division I recruit De'Mauri Flournoy.

Furthermore, Carrollton's current roster consists of just two seniors — Dyimond Watkins and Kelsie Thomas.

"We're really young," Thomaston said. "But, you know, sometimes young is exciting and it's always good for something new now and then. The good thing is I have some kids with some talent who don't mind doing the dirty work."

The Lady Trojans will be looking for breakout seasons from Flournoy and freshman guard Kehinde Obasuyi this winter. The duo excelled in the season-opening victory over Fayette County, combining for 34 of Carrollton's 51 points.

"They're two little guards that are really, really exciting," Thomaston said. "They play a lot of basketball, and there's a lot of buzz about them in the state. The two of them make our team go."

Carrollton also returns the senior forward Watkins, who managed to find playing time sporadically throughout the 2017-18 season while playing on a stacked roster. Thomaston is looking for her, and junior guard Rachel Herrera, to be impact players for his team this season, as well.

"We've got some good pieces," Thomaston said. "And then we've got several other girls that just know their role, and they play it well. The kids are so unselfish that they don't care anything about who's scoring. They just want to see everybody do well, and that's the makings of a good team."

The Lady Trojans' new-look roster was electric last Saturday, jumping out to a 14-2 lead in the opening quarter and never looking back en route to the blowout victory. Thomaston lauded his team's ability to make up for its lack of size by being scrappy on defense and causing its opponent to be bothered for the entirety of the contest.

"I don't think (Fayette County) ever really got comfortable with what they were trying to do," Thomaston said. "And I think that's just a testament to my kids coming out and wanting to put out a show in their very first game of the season."

While pleased with his team's effort and execution, Thomaston noted he would be quick to preach how fleeting success can be if his team were to let its guard down going forward.

"To be honest with you, we're going to talk about consistency," Thomaston said following the victory. "We've got a game coming up (this) weekend, and we've got to come back and do it again. So now we've got to try to put the same effort together in back-to-back games. I really believe that we can do that."

Carrollton will be back in action tonight when it welcomes Harris County (4-0) to Criswell Court at 6 p.m.