As Nick Isaac has developed a shutdown defense with his Augusta Christian girls basketball squad, he’s stressed communication above all else.
But not all noise is necessarily good noise.
“The girls have been working real hard in practice, just learning how to communicate,” the second-year coach said. “You can talk, but we don’t want baseball chatter. We want real, genuine communication.
“… You’re directing your teammates on the floor.”
Last weekend, the Lady Lions rode a dominant defense to the tournament title in the Garden City Classic at Augusta Prep.
Defeating Briarwood, Thomas Sumter and, in the finals, cross-town foe Westminster, Augusta Christian held its tournament opponents to an average of 25 points per game.
The Lady Lions backed up the win over Westminster Tuesday with a 42-32 victory to go 6-0 on the season.
They haven’t allowed more than 35 points in a game thus far.
“Defensively, we’ve been really lights-out,” Isaac said. “We’ve been holding our opponents to under 25 percent field-goal shooting, and we’ve been getting offensive rebounds.
“When you do those two things, you’re going to win a lot of games.”
Augusta Prep finished fifth in the girls tournament bracket.
In the boys title game, Westminster defeated Dominion Christian for the title.
Augusta Christian topped Augusta Prep 73-46 in the third-place game.
Anna Motes was named as the tournament MVP while helping Augusta Christian to the championship.
She said that facing a local team in the final didn’t change the team’s focus or really even give it much of a different feel.
“Maybe a little bit, but it’s the same thing because we want to win all (of our) games,” Motes said.
For Amaura Brandt, the tournament victory marked the first check on the team’s list of goals for the season.
It meant even more after the Lady Lions lost in the finals last year to Curtis Baptist.
“That was one of the things on our ‘to-do’ list,” the senior said. “It was really exciting to be able to check off the first one, rather than have to say, ‘Oh, we messed up that goal.’ ”
A focus on strong defense complements a team that Isaac said has shown no problems getting a flow on offense.
Rather than installing a system that requires players to do the same thing in every situation, the coach has given his players freedom in the system.
“The girls play off each other, so it’s almost like a freelance type of deal,” Isaac said.
“They have rules and they have concepts, but those concepts change depending on what their teammates do and how the defense is playing.”
He said that the goal is “to get them out of the habit of playing like robots.”
With one goal down, the Lady Lions are focusing on the next one: a region title.