Unselfish Rabun County team sets out to have no regrets on ’21-’22 season [VIDEO]
The dynasty of the Rabun County Lady Wildcats is as strong as ever. Thanks to a large senior class of 7 girls, and one of the state’s top coaches in DeeDee Dillard, the #3-ranked Lady Cats are set for another great run in 2021-22. Out of the gate, the girls were off to a tough 1-2 start, taking the second loss against Habersham Central in a game that proved to be a wake-up call.
“Since we had that really tough loss against Habersham at Piedmont, we’ve really brought our team together as a whole,” says senior Gracie Deetz. “We started focusing on executing well in practice and doing the little things really well. We’ve come together, and realized that we’re not just going to step out there and win; we’re going to have to do the little things.”
It has worked, as Rabun is riding a 3-game win streak since that loss. A great deal of this program’s sustained success has been that the team isn’t built around any one…or even two…players. It’s a complete team effort each year.
“No matter who scores, you see the whole bench get up,” says senior guard Sophie Woodard. “I think some teams have one or two dominant players who contribute well for them, but with our team we have freshmen and sophomores come off the bench contributing. There are many games where we all score.”
“I think that’s really an advantage for us,” adds Dillard. “Defensively, when teams scout us, it’s hard to match up. Carly [Haban] and Gracie are both playing a little out of position this year. They’re playing some post, and are natural wings. That’s created some opportunities for us to take advantage of other teams because they’re hard to match up with. I am very fortunate that I have kids that can put the ball in the hoop. We love having that balanced attack.”
The team’s motto throughout this season is ‘Reminisce or Regret’, which has kept the team focused on going hard all the time.
“We try to think about over-arching what we want for our program,” says Dillard. “We feel very much that the last 2 years have been a letdown in terms of postseason play. We have a high standard for what we expect and what we want to happen when we get past the regular season. “
Nothing is given, especially this year in a tough region. Region 8-AA has Rabun (#3-ranked), Union (#7), Banks (#10), and an Elbert team who is ranked #1 overall in Class 2A. That makes for a wide-open region that arguably is the toughest in the entire state, regardless of class.
“We’re all very skilled,” says Woodard of the region teams. “At the end of the day, it’s going to be who executes better. If we do what we need to, I think we can beat anyone in this region.”
It will take every night going hard for any team to run the table, but one thing Rabun has working for it is the relationship off the court.
“We’ve been playing together for a really long time,” states Deetz. “We know each other on and off the court. The senior and team bonding we do really sparks our team this year. We enjoy spending time together, and a team starts off the court.”
The Lady Cats are 4-2 overall heading into Friday’s action.