In a school that sees annual success in volleyball and soccer, the Augusta Prep girls basketball program isn't exactly the pride and joy of the athletic department.
However, girls basketball coach Jeremy Burden is trying to fix that.
He has his work cut out for him.
"I've never had quite the season like I had last year," he said at a practice last week. "Before then the worst record I had in a season was 10-13."
The Lady Cavaliers won two games last season. Burden, who has become fairly efficient at building basketball teams from the bottom up, was in his first year as head coach. He had previously established girls basketball programs in the Washington, D.C., area.
"Basketball is bigger in D.C.," he said. "Down here it's not quite the same. Football and baseball are the big things here."
Still, Burden said the future is bright for his girls basketball program at Augusta Prep. Win or lose, the 2006-07 season will look dramatically different from past years.
"We have a new gym, new assistant coach and our numbers are growing," Burden said. "That's a good sign that the program is moving in the right direction."
Burden also added a junior varsity team for the first time in school history. Andrea McCurry, a former member of the Augusta State women's basketball team for four years, will step in as assistant coach and help with both teams.
"We're still very much in the building stages, but things are looking better," Burden said. "We played in a summer league this year with Westminster, Curtis, Briarwood and Augusta Christian."
Leading the way for the 2006-07 Lady Cavaliers will be Mary Beth Horton and Laura Kopald. Horton, the team's lone senior, will start at point guard. Kopald, who averaged 12 rebounds per game last season, will be one of the strongest players on the team, Burden said.
Augusta Prep's season will begin Thursday at the Westminster Thanksgiving Tip-Off Tournament. The Lady Cavaliers will face Mt. Vernon on Thursday at 4 p.m.
The first home game in the brand new Boardman Athletic Center at Augusta Prep will take place Nov. 20 against Curtis Baptist at 6 p.m.
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