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New Duncan girls basketball coach Grant Givens hopes to bring back the tradition the Lady Demons have had in past years.
Duncan is coming off a 4-20 record last season, but Givens noted that, the season prior, the Lady Demons were one game away from reaching the state tournament. He added they have regulary reached state in other years.
“Traditionally, Duncan girls basketball has been one of the best in 5A,” Givens said. “What we want to try to do is get it back to that (being a state contender).”
Givens, a Duncan native and Empire High School graduate, coached the Frederick girls team the past two seasons and was an assistant boys coach at Duncan the two years prior. The chance to return to Duncan perked Givens’ interest in the girls coaching job.
“Being from here, I wanted to get back home and to be closer to family and friends,” Givens said.
Givens will have a young group to start the season. The team has five seniors and two juniors, so some sophomores will step into key roles and a few freshmen will have a chance at varsity minutes, Givens said. The team also lacks size.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if we were the smallest 5A team,” Givens said.
The upside is that Givens believes his team is more athletic than it was last season. The coach said he wants the defense to set up the offense and give the Lady Demons more scoring opportunities.
“We want to take advantage of fast breaks whenever we get them,” Givens said. “We will move the ball up the court, down the court as quickly as we can.”
He added he wants the girls to play good half-court defense and force teams to shoot from the outside.
Givens said practices have gone well thus far, although there is some adjustment as the girls learn a new system.
“it’s not that the stuff is totally brand new, but sometimes, going from one coach to another, the langauge changes a bit,” Givens said. “They are still learning the way I want things done, but they are getting better.”
As for the players themselves, seniors Tania Elix and Rainy Sanford will be counted upon for leadership, Givens said. The same will hold true for juniors Jordan Byrd and Madelin Bacon.
Two sophomores, Payton Bower and Delaney Mitchell, played considerable minutes as freshmen last year.
“They are fortunate to have varsity experience that they might normally not have,” Givens said.
Seniors Amanda Power, Paulleisha Tubbs and Stephanie Perry are also expected to contribute.
Givens said the team’s main goal is to be “better at the end of the season than where we started.” He added he wants to see the girls diving for loose balls and getting more rebounds.
Most of all, he wants to see the players give it their best every game.
“The main thing we want is to be a hard-working team,” Givens said. “We want to do the little things right and just play hard.”