Seemingly year after year, there was a fixture on the sidelines when the Peach County girls basketball team took the floor — head coach Maxine Cherry.
But with her retirement from coaching two seasons ago, a new era for the Trojans program emerged.
And like in previous years, it has included a high level of on-court success, this time with second-year head coach Tamica Sneed in charge.
“Being a new coach last year, I think we had some trust issues,” Sneed said. “They were still learning me. Now, having coached them a year, I think it definitely helps us out this year.”
Peach County (21-7) will be looking for its third trip to the GHSA Class 3A quarterfinals on Wednesday when it hosts Pierce County.
“The players are very excited, they know we are fortunate to still be playing,” Sneed said. “I’ve seen more dedication to film study, wanting to get in the gym, staying late after practice. They’re pretty upbeat about it.”
The play of guard Danasia Shaw has helped lead that on-court effort, averaging around 14 points, nine rebounds and four steals a game. Deja Holland, also a guard, is also scoring in the neighborhood of 14 points a game.
Peach County is arguably playing its best basketball right now. Toughened up by a stringent non-region schedule earlier in the season, the Trojans have won nine games in a row. Among the wins during the streak was a 37-36 win against Central after the Trojans fell to the Chargers in both regular-season meetings between the teams.
“All season long, we had been talking to the girls about playing all 32 minutes. Against Central, in that championship game, I saw us communicate so well,” Sneed said. “The things we had been trying to pull out of them the whole season, I kind of saw those things come out of them and saw a commitment to 32 minutes. That’s what I’ve been asking for the whole year.”
Area GHSA second round games:
Eagles Landing at Warner Robins, 6 p.m. Wednesday
Long County at Central, 6 p.m. Thursday
Crisp County at Westside, 6 p.m. Wednesday
Stratford at Greenforest, 6 p.m. Thursday at Redan High School
Northside at Lovejoy, 7 p.m. Wednesday
Pierce County at Peach County, 6 p.m. Wednesday
Central at Tattnall County, 5 p.m. Wednesday
Landmark Christian at Stratford, 6:30 p.m. Wednesday
Tattnall Square at Calvary Day, 6 p.m. Wednesday