Time To Hunt: Banks County on the prowl for a title [VIDEO]

As of January 9, the Banks County Lady Leopards are an insane 15-3, 1-0 in region play, and own a #4 state ranking. It marks arguably the best season for a stellar program in at least 5 years.

“It’s gone great,” says coach Steve Shedd. “We had some high expectations coming into this season. I feel like at this point…the three losses we took were all ranked when we played them. I’m very happy with where the season has gone so far. We’re really looking forward to getting into the region play.”

The team is loaded with such talents as senior Kamryn Grier, a long-time playmaker who recently notched her 1,000th career point and is closing in on 1,000 career rebounds. She’s been a part of some great Lady Leopards teams, but this season, albeit interesting with her missing several games due to an appendectomy, has been fulfilling for her.

“It’s very rewarding to know that I’ve been in this program for so long and we’ve gotten this far,” says Grier, who has signed with Emmanuel College. “This team has put in a lot of work, and I think we play as one team right now and that’s really good.”

This team has been dominant on both ends of the floor, averaging 56.2 points per game offensively while surrending just 38.1 per night.

“It’s a great feeling,” says Shedd. “I’m never a coach that really ever relaxes; I’m coaching the whole time. It’s a testament to the girls, they’ve put in a lot of work. We’re a much more balanced team this year, and we can score in a lot of different ways. But it starts with defense. You hear that old cliche, ‘defense wins championships.’ Everybody comes to watch the offense, but what really pays off is the defense.”

The goals and expectations are always high, but this group hasn’t shied away from the 2022-23 goals.

“This summer we talked and set goals for the team,” says junior guard Addison Hoard. One of them was beating Rabun County, and we did that once. We said go farther than the Elite 8, and win region too. Coach Shedd came up with [our motto] ‘Hunt for a Title’, hunting for that state title and region title.”

In order to make those goals a reality, the team knows it has to come ready to play each and every night.

“The way I feel and what I tell the girls all the time is to ‘show up,'” adds Shedd. “When I say show up…they know I mean we’ve got to hustle, we’ve got to play physical, we’ve got to play fast, we’ve got to be aggressive, we’ve got to want to win more than our opponent and we’ve got to hate losing more than our opponent. If we keep showing up every day and do what we do, we’ve got a great chance.”

Shedd feels like this team can not only win region, but advance past the Elite 8 for the first time in school history.

“We would like to get to that Elite 8, and get over that hump and get into the Final 4,” exclaims Shedd. “That’s what our eyes and focus on…win that region title first, and then go from there.”

The team relies on the play of players like Grier and Hoard, but several others (up to 3-4 per game in double digits) are pivotal, including Carley Segars, Madison Adams, Reese Murphy, and Ryleigh Murphy among many others.

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