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Lady Cavs hope to restore confidence

Lakeland High School girls’ basketball coach Daryl Rountree is looking to build up the confidence in the program.

The Lady Cavs basketball team is under new direction this year with Rountree. After having a respectable 2015-16 season, the Lady Cavs did not quite have the season they wanted last year, winning fewer than 10 games.

Rountree knows that the girls’ basketball program has not been as strong in recent years but has plans to help Lakeland get to that point.

“We are just trying to build confidence right now,” Rountree said. “I am just trying to instill that winning spirit in them. Just being mentally tough and mentally ready to play every night.”

With the conferences from last season pretty much eliminated, Lakeland’s schedule will primarily consist of Southeastern District opponents. That means Lakeland will go through much of the season facing every opponent in a higher classification than they are.

Bumps and bruises are to be expected this season under a new coach, but Rountree believes a team carries the identity of its coach. If he is panicking in adverse moments, he expects his team to do the same. Instead, he does not let any adversity consume him, as he does not want it to carry over into his players.

“I know everything is not going to be built overnight,” he said. “I have to show my confidence so that the girls have their confidence. No matter what the score is or how the game goes, we are going to keep pushing. We play hard, we play fast and we play smart.”

Lakeland will return their top scorer in senior Kayla Barnes. She has been among the most productive players in the Cavs’ program the previous three years. Rountree believes that Barnes maybe among the leading scorers in the Southeastern District this season.

The Lady Cavs will take on Hickory High School at home at 7 p.m. Friday for their official first game of the season. Rountree wants to see his team work together and to believe in each other and trust in each other.