The Bluestone girls basketball team is ready to start the 2019-2020 season with a new identity. It has been well documented in the past that the girls basketball teams of the past couple of years have had their fair share of struggles. Low turnout and lack of experience have been the cause of some less than stellar seasons recently. This season the Bluestone girls basketball team looks to write a new story.
With a good amount of players returning, and the emergence of some young talent, the Barons are looking to make some noise in the James River District. Former Bluestone standout and 1,000 point scorer April Bullock takes over as the head coach of the girls team this year, and speaking with Coach Bullock recently, it is apparent that she has her team focused and giving it their all every day. Bullock praised her teams effort in practice recently. “Every girl gives 110% every day in practice.” For those that pay any attention to the details in sports will know that not every winning team has a bevy of talent. A team that works together, gives it their all, and buys into their coaches, will surprise more teams than you think.
Speaking to Coach Bullock it is apparent that this is the mindset of the girls basketball team at Bluestone. Low numbers have been an issue in the past also when it comes to the girls basketball teams. This year is different though, Bullock says that she has 22 girls on the JV and varsity teams. That is a vast improvement from previous years, and having that kind of depth will really help in all aspects. Whether it is the competition in practice or the ability to get more players rest during games, the depth of a basketball team is important. Out of those 22 players, Coach Bullock says that close to 10 of those are returning players that have experience in the system. Bullock also says that they have quite a few middle school players that came out and will bring playing experience and knowledge of the game to the high school level.
Bullock says she has two captains this season that have really stepped up. Bullock says that these two girls came into the season and showed her their desire to step up and lead the team. Those two players are Katlyn Shanklin and Destiny Pettus. Bullock also praised freshman point guard Xzareyah Tucker as another young player that has a lot potential and will make an immediate impact on the varsity team. Bullock will have 6 seniors, several juniors, 3 sophomores, and the one freshman on the varsity team this season. Bringing up some of the underclassmen to play on varsity will also help with the future of the program as they will be around for several more years. Bullock says that her goal is for her team to “go out there and have fun.” She said that last year a lot of the girls had their heads down and lacked the desire that she is looking for. Bullock goes on to say “I don't care what the scoreboard says, go out there and have fun and give it your all.” Coach Bullock said that this years team has so far exhibited the attitude that she has come to expect, and watching them practice for a short period of time reaffirms that. She also goes on to say that “they (the team) are hungry for wins just like I am.”
The Bluestone girls basketball team competed in their first scrimmage of the year on Wednesday night against Brunswick, and has one more on the schedule before the regular season starts that is at Franklin. The pieces are there, the mentality is there, now it comes down to the execution on the court. Make sure you come out and support the Bluestone girls basketball team this season, it is sure to be an exciting one.