New coach knows her team

Published 10:44 pm Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Brandey Blunt knows she’s stepped into a big task as Lakeland’s new varsity girls basketball coach.

“This is definitely a genesis. It’s a starting point for the team and myself,” Blunt said a couple days before the Lady Cavaliers open their season against city rival Nansemond River.

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“We lost six seniors. I think we’re in a stage of rediscovery and we’re definitely faced with new challenges,” Blunt said.

Six isn’t an unusually large graduating class for a hoops program, but all six senior Lady Cavs played major minutes for Alan Jones, who left Lakeland to take an assistant coach position at Christopher Newport University. The Lady Cavaliers finished 8-11 last season.

Blunt, an assistant for the Lady Cavaliers for the last three seasons, steps in and expects a lot even from a young team.

“Working hard is definitely what I demand. I think the team as a whole, they’ve been doing that, working hard every day,” Blunt said.

Blunt was a CIAA Player of the Year and an All-American in her playing days at Bowie State University.

“We’ve been working on our strengths and working to identify our strengths, then we’re practicing hard on our weaknesses,” Blunt said, “and a lot of that is done through learning the fundamentals. Learning boxing out, rebounding, the triple threat position, those are the things I stress a lot.”

Quickness and defense are the strengths the new coach already sees. Good defensive efforts will be the main goal each night.

Most of the varsity Lady Cavaliers were the JV Lady Cavs last season. A few of Blunt’s players are “new to basketball period.”

“But they’re hard workers and willing to learn. I have a very coachable group. A coach can’t ask for any more than that,” she said.

Senior point guard Rodnesia Sallins is the returner with the most experience. Even that isn’t very much says Blunt.

“We’ll look to her to be our quarterback out there. She’s got a huge weight on her shoulders, plus what goes with being a senior and a point guard, but I believe she’s able to take on the responsibility,” Blunt said.

While new as the varsity head coach, Blunt and her two assistant coaches have been Lady Cavaliers.

“We work well together. We’re very dedicated to the sport and the young ladies,” she said.

“The girls know me and I’ve seen their growth and what they’re capable of doing. I’m very excited for this season. I know every coaching position is a challenge. I’m just as excited for this opportunity as the girls are,” Blunt said.