By Gary Lloyd
Clay-Chalkville is playing with the right mindset, and it’s showing in the win-loss column.
The Lady Cougars were 23-3 at press time, its losses a three-point defeat to Class 4A No. 1 Oneonta in December, an eight-point loss at Gadsden City Dec. 14 and a 69-55 loss against Class 5A No. 2 Center Point in last week’s Jefferson County Tournament.
“I was disappointed in the way we played against Center Point,” Lady Cougars coach Todd Carlile said after his team’s 73-59 win over Pleasant Grove clinched a third-place finish at last week’s county tournament.
Carlile felt the Lady Cougars played scared against a more physical Center Point team. But Clay-Chalkville is coming around, competing better against some of the top teams in the state. The Lady Cougars lost both games against Oneonta last season, one a 14-point loss at home. Gadsden City dropped Clay-Chalkville 70-50 last February. Can the Lady Cougars now compete with some of the best teams around?
“Any day of the week,” said sophomore point guard Kristian Hudson. “We’ve just got to play hard, hustle, control our attitude and, once again, play hard. With the right attitude, anything is possible.”
The girls are doing it with sharpshooting and defense. The girls held Gadsden City to 31 points in a four-point win earlier this month, a win that locked up a regular-season tie in Class 6A, Area 9 with the Lady Titans
. Senior forward Larian Scott said she can’t remember the last time Clay-Chalkville beat Gadsden City but estimated it may have been her freshman year.
“Our girls finally believed that we could beat them,” Carlile said. “I feel like it was starting to get in our heads that we couldn’t. We actually played a really, really good game to beat them.”
Carlile said the team has a long way to go with its defense and that the team is successful if its shooting from the outside at a high percentage.
“Luckily, the shots have been falling,” Carlile said.
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