MILLEDGEVILLE - The goal has been set for next season already.
Just moments after the Brookwood girls basketball team lost in the GISA Class AA state championship game Saturday, Warriors coach Shondra Johnson had already set her sights on the next goal - to win that title.
“You just hope to regroup and come back next year and play for the state championship,” Johnson said. “It’s funny. I was sitting at the table for lunch and we’re talking about how your first year you get this far, what do you have to go for next year?
“Well, I have a state championship now to go for next year. That’s my goal again. My ultimate goal is to come back and work as hard every day.” Brookwood reached new heights this past season — winning the Region 3-AA regular season and tournament titles and then advancing all the way to the championship game of the state tourney. Still, with four starters returning, the Warriors may become more accustomed to Georgia College and State University’s Centennial Center.
There is no doubt to departing seniors Kendra Bell and Elizabeth Wedding that this isn’t Brookwood’s last trip to Milledgeville.
“I’m proud, and I’m still happy we made it this far,” Bell said. “That’s all I can be. Next year, I hope they make it again and win it next time.
“I feel like this is a stepping stone. They know what it takes now to get to the next level.”
Wedding added: “I’m really proud of the girls for the job they’ve done and of this program. I know that it is getting better. I can’t wait to come back and watch them continue to improve. I have a feeling they’ll be back here many more times.”
Johnson, too, believes the future is bright for the Warriors. Brookwood returns sophomore Logan Petrey at point guard — a three-year starter, junior wing Marielle Youmans — a four-year starter, sophomore forward Lucy Mitchell and freshman center Domarnique Moore — the all-area girls player of the year.
Moore, who averaged 12.1 points and 10.9 rebounds in the regular season, led Brookwood against Trinity Christian in the final with 15 points and 20 rebounds. Youmans added 10.9 points during the regular season, while Petrey handed out a team-high 61 assists and spearheaded the Warrior defense with 43 steals. Mitchell provided Moore with a complement inside.
“After we soak this in, we will then look at what our future has and just enjoy this season,” Johnson said. “That’s my focus right now, is to enjoy this season. After a week, I can say, ‘Let’s see what we have for the future.’”
The talent is in place for the Warriors to continue their rise from a two-win season in 2003-04. However, the key to Brookwood maintaining its state tournament run, may be in replacing Bell — to whom Johnson handed over the leadership reins from the outset of the season.
“Job well done,” Johnson said of Bell’s efforts. “I can’t say much more. I’m not disappointed in these girls, I’m proud of these girls. We’re not first, but I’m still proud of them. They’ve come a long way.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to coach these girls. And to God be the glory for what He’s given me this whole year.”
For further information, visit: www.timesenterprise.com