Bethlehem Christian Academy girls’ coaches: Jason Smith (head coach) and Julie Cavoretto (assistant)

Returning starters and other key contributors: After missing her entire junior season with an ACL injury, senior point guard Jadyn Goddard is back on the floor this season for the Lady Knights and gives the team top-notch speed and plenty of scoring ability. Junior Sydney Harrison gives the team more speed and athleticism out on the wing, while Smith hopes to eventually center much of the offense around sophomore transfer Grayson Meeks at the 5. Junior Audrey Fry is one of the team’s best 3-point shooters, senior Hannah Still, a second-year basketball player for BCA, provides versatility, and sophomore Natalie Wellborn gives the Lady Knights another post player.

Team strengths and areas in need of improvement: Along with team quickness and athleticism, Smith believes the team has the capability of having a solid defensive unit with their switch from a zone to a man defense. “I think we’ve been able to apply that and done it pretty effectively, considering we haven’t done much of that since I’ve been here,” said Smith, whose team picked up its first win of the year Nov. 18, 46-37 over Sugar Hill Christian Academy, to improve to 1-2 overall. “Being able to pressure people defensively will be key, and, offensively, understanding spacing and team movement. I’ve found that’s one of the hardest things to teach in coaching basketball, how to move around the court with purpose.”

Region and season outlook: The Lady Knights have upcoming home non-region games against Loganville Christian Academy (Nov. 30) and Monsignor Donovan (Dec. 3) before opening GISA Region 4-AAA play Dec. 7 at Young Americans Christian. Then after a handful of other non-region contests through the end of December and into January, they’ll ramp up the region schedule starting Jan. 7 with a trip to John Milledge Academy. The difficult region schedule is highlighted by last year’s state runner-up, Westfield School, and semifinalist JMA, but with the full team now together, Smith hopes the Lady Knights will find their way back into the state playoffs and improve on last season’s 5-12 finish. “The nice thing about our schedule is we have a chance to work out the kinks before we get into the meat of it,” Smith said. “It’s a really young team with lots to learn. Hopefully, we can avoid any major injuries and keep everyone healthy.”

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