After winning the 2018 Class 3A Girls Basketball State Championship, Pisgah had all but one player among its top nine returning contributors.
But after repeating as a state champion in 2019, the Eagles aren’t in the same position as far as returning players.
Heading toward the 2019-20 season, Pisgah lost eight seniors — including Miss Basketball Annie Hughes, all-state tournament team member Kaylee Vaught, Bailey Law and Abbey Grace Womack — and has only two starters returning (senior guard Chloe Womack and sophomore guard/forward Molly Heard).
All is not lost in Pisgah, but head coach Carey Ellison said the Eagles have some revamping to do.
“We have a lot to replace, so it’ll be a big a challenge,” said Ellison, who has coached Pisgah a combined 65-2 record the past two season and has led the Eagles to five state titles as he enters this 24th season as head coach. “(The summer) was a search for what kind of team we’re going to be. It was about finding out where everybody fit and who is going to step into those leadership roles. We feel like we’ve got good pieces. We’ve just got to find out how those pieces fit.”
Playing for the Eagles this summer were seniors Womack, Laylah Hatfield, Madison Myers, Shalyn Smith, Kristen York, juniors Bella Bobo and Hannah Duncan, sophomore Heard and freshmen Kallie Tinker and Ashley and Amber Shrader.
Pisgah mostly “stayed local” with its summer work. It spent many days playing and doing organized team activities with North Jackson and also played Section and Ider and played home and home with Dade County of Trenton, Georgia. The Eagles also ventured to a play date at Hazel Green — Pisgah played Birmingham schools Class 7A Spain Park, 6A Carver-Birmingham and 5A Fairfield — and a team camp at UTC where it played Georgia schools St. Pius, Model and Southeast Whitfield.
Ellison said the Eagles didn’t worry about game results but instead focused on “seeing what we can do and how we can do it. I thought we played well at times. We’ve got a ways to go but they’re all committed to doing what it takes to continue to be successful.”