Keith’s Lady Bears fell one win short of a state championship last season. This offseason, Harriet Winchester is back and expecations are high for a Keith team that returns almost every player. --file photo
Keith’s Lady Bears fell one win short of a state championship last season. This offseason, Harriet Winchester is back and expecations are high for a Keith team that returns almost every player. -- file photo

Keith is focused on bringing home a state title

Published 8:00pm Tuesday, July 2, 2013

By Daniel Evans

The Selma Times-Journal

More than four months have passed since Keith’s Lady Bears lost in the 1A state basketball championship game to Brantley after holding a halftime lead.

This offseason, Keith head coach Cecil Williams and the Bears are working hard to make sure they give themselves another shot at a state championship.

“We are going to accomplish what we didn’t last year, hopefully,” Williams said. “That is our main goal.”

With every player back from last season’s team except for one, Williams believes his team can win a state championship. The Bears had a playdate at Keith High School this summer and Williams said his team “played pretty well”.

“We won two out of the three games that we played,” Williams said about the playdate. “Conditioning and having a couple of new players is going to be the biggest thing, trying to get everybody to play together and understand the system of what we have going on.”

Rising sophomore Harriet Winchester is back with high expectations after being named the Selma Times-Journal’s player of the year as a freshman. She averaged 16.5 points and 11.5 rebounds during the Class 1A final four. She has been playing with the Bears since the seventh grade. Williams says despite being so talented, Winchester still has room for improvement.

“Improving on her ball handling, sprints, and other minor skills that she needs to work on just to get better. ” Williams said. “Improve her all-around game…she’s a good player, but there is always room for improvement.”

Williams was named the Selma Times-Journal coach of the year last season after guiding Keith to a 31-4 record. He has turned the program around quickly after taking over in 2009. His first season, Keith went 3-16. Now, they are among the favorites to win the 1A state championship.

Last year, Keith’s 18-13 halftime lead against Brantley in the 1A title game evaporated quickly in the second half. Brantley pulled ahead and never looked back in a 53-42 victory.

After getting so close last season, Williams says his team is “hungry” to win a state championship.

“I’ve seen a lot more confidence in the kids, working on their skills. Being that we went to Birmingham gave them a lot more intensity and drive to get better,” Williams said. “A lot of them are working a lot harder because the goal we fell short of last year. I’ve seen a good deal of improvement so far.”

 

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