Lady Cats, Off to Hot Start, Living In THe Moment [VIDEO]

It’s a cliché most coaches use, but there’s a reason why it’s important. One day/game at a time. That’s just what the #2-ranked Rabun County Lady Wildcats are doing in 2020-21.

“We had had a two and a half week layoff,” says coach DeeDee Dillard on finally getting a game in this week after multiple cancellations. “It was just fun to be on the court again. That’s allowed us to not take anything for granted. We don’t know how many games we’ll get to play this year, so we’re just trying to enjoy each one as they come.”

The long-time head coach of Rabun knows what it takes to win and to keep a team motivated, which is the challenge in a year in which already five games have been called off for the Lady Cats.

“Our big things this season was that in our first game against Stephens County, we had a big spark in the fourth quarter [and won],” says senior Natalie Nix. “We’d get ready to play the next game and it’d get cancelled. Then we’d get ready for the next game, and it would get canceled. We didn’t want to let that spark and that fire die out. In practice we’re trying to get after each other and keep everyone motivated for our next game, and hopefully we’ll be able to play that next game.”

Nix knows that this season is unprecedented, and keeping sharp and upbeat even when games are called off will be key. The Lady Cats have made the most of their time on the court so far, getting off to a hot start at 4-0 heading into a Tuesday game.

“I think that has really set our goals and ambitions,” says senior Beth Payne on the quick start. “It’s been motivation for us. With the COVID and not having a normal summer, we didn’t really know how it was going to go. It’s been really well.”

While the season moves along, it will be as important as ever that the girls are playing their best ball when it matters the most.

“It’s hard to hit your stride and it’s hard to get in a rhythm when you’re not getting to play on a consistent basis,” states Dillard. “I want you to play hard, and have fun, and get a little bit better every day. Enjoy it because you never know when it’s going to be your last.”

Dillard’s team is a well-balanced group in which any player can be the standout on a given night, starting with seniors Nix and Payne, a loaded junior class headlined by Gracie Deetz, Sophie Woodard, and Carley Haban and sophomore and freshmen looking to make a name for themselves.

The Lady Indians are off to a 1-1 start after a win over Calhoun and loss to Buford. The girls have seniors Davenport and Caldwell, along with young veteran sophomores Lexi Pierce, Mary Mullinax, and Kate Jackson (out for season with injury). Lumpkin made history by making the playoffs last season for the first time in over 12 years. They won 15 games last season and 17 the year prior, and have been ranked in each of the past two seasons.

Beth Payne Natalie Nix DeeDee Dillard

Digital Copy of Interview – Beth Payne & Natalie Nix

Digital Copy of Interview – Beth Payne & Natalie Nix


Digital Copy of Interview – David Dowse

Digital Copy of Interview – David Dowse


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