The transition for the Adairsville girls basketball team has been pretty seamless from the Michael Roberson era into the debut season of former Tigers assistant coach Melissa Winters. Then again, …
The transition for the Adairsville girls basketball team has been pretty seamless from the Michael Roberson era into the debut season of former Tigers assistant coach Melissa Winters.
Then again, Adairsville hasn't technically started the 2020-21 season just yet. But Winters is liking what she sees out of the team.
"We're practicing really hard," she said earlier this week. "The girls are enthusiastic. I've got a good group of juniors who are returners who have some varsity experience. They look pretty good right now."
The Tigers will tip off the season Monday and Tuesday in a Thanksgiving tournament at Armuchee. Adairsville is set to face Bartow County rival Woodland Monday before matching up with Model.
The Woodland game will be the first chance for Winters to lead the Tigers in a regular-season game after serving as Roberson's assistant each of the past three years.
"The transition from Michael to me has been an easier one than having somebody brand new," Winters said. "There are a couple of things we're just tweaking from what we've done in the past to improve. I think that's been really good for them — not having to learn a whole new system. Now, we're just fixing some things, and now, we're just making improvement and making things better."
Her familiarity with the program has undoubtedly made an atypical offseason easier on the players. However, there are certain concerns — namely COVID-19 — that even Winters can't completely alleviate.
"That part has been a little bit difficult," Winters said. "For the most part, the kids have been healthy, the staff has been healthy. Those things are good. The girls are a little uneasy when it comes to traveling to other places still, because they're concerned about long bus rides and things like that. For the most part, because they've all played another sport already, they know how things have been going with COVID. They know when we go different places that some gyms are going to require different things. ...
"They are adjusting very well and being flexible with everything that we're having to do differently this season than any other season."
Following the pair of games at Armuchee, Adairsville will start its Region 6-AAA slate with a home date with Rockmart Dec. 1. The Yellow Jackets are one of three preseason top-10 teams in the region, per the AJC, along with Sonoraville and Coahulla Creek.
Even still, Winters believes her team, which doesn't have any seniors, can compete in the loaded region.
"I think we can play with every single one of them," Winters said of the region teams. "... We're hoping to make some noise in this region, even as tough as it is."
For that to happen, Adairsville will need its junior class to put together an impressive season. It's certainly possible given the talent in the group.
Lexie Childers and Haley Stiles often led the Tigers in scoring last year. MaKayla Wade and Autumn Henderson will be among the returners, as well.
Winters said her main rotation consists of seven players with a fewer younger ones looking to earn some minutes. In all likelihood, it will take strong contributions across the board for Adairsville to check off its list of goals for the season.
"Our first goal is to compete in every game that we play," Winters said. "The girls have set a goal to have a winning season this year for the varsity level. These girls have won on the JV level, and they are ready to transition it to varsity. By the end, we want to be in that competition for a state seed.
"Realistically, we've got some big goals, we've got some big dreams. The girls are working really hard and competing every day, trying to get there."