Change is something that the Upson Lee Lady Knights basketball team has certainly become accustomed to over the last few years. In 2015 Bainbridge native Brandon Ingram becomes the Lady Knights third coach in as many years.
Last season under Kevin Furtado, the Lady Knights finished with a record of 6-18 and 1-11 in Region 2 play. This is Coach Ingram’s first job as a head coach and coaching girl’s basketball, but he says is up to the challenge.
“I was an All-Region player for Bainbridge back in 2000 and 2001, and basketball is my passion,” Ingram said. “I started coaching at Bainbridge High in 2005, where I was the 9th/JV boys coach and an assistant for the boys varsity team. I was an Assistant Coach for Bainbridge High for two Elite 8 teams and two Final 4 teams, so I’ve been around winning programs, and that’s what I want to build here.”
So far the Lady Knights have played two games, and they have a 1-1 record. Coach Ingram earned his first victory as a head coach in his first game, when the Lady Knights defeated Heard County 46-37 last week. However, on Saturday the Lady Knights lost their first game of the season to Johnson-Gainesville 58-43, playing in the Chestatee Thanksgiving Classic in Gainesville. Sophomore Cierra Williams led the Lady Knights with 14 points in the loss.
“My first impression of Upson Lee was how much support was given to the athletic programs and their coaches through their administrators, staff and the community,” Ingram said. “I arrived to Thomaston a day before school started and everyone was so helpful for me getting settled into the new school year. The athletic staff at Upson Lee goes above and beyond their duties and have helped me out tremendously. I have inherited a basketball staff that has welcomed me with open arms and that has helped me with the transition.”
Helping Ingram this season will be assistant head coach Stead Walker and Junior Varsity head coach Meredith Searcy.
According to Ingram, the Lady Knights’ future can be bright one, filled with young athletic players.
“I think the future is really bright for the Lady Knights basketball program because we are young, we have size, we are competitive, and we have the drive to improve every day,” Ingram said. “Our program is built on the values of a family. We support each other, win or lose. Our goals and expectations this year is to be a student athlete that puts their school first, be a role model for their peers, to give 100 percent in everything they do whether it be on the court, at school or out in the community, and be dependable. The most important thing is play hard, play smart, play together and have fun!”
The Lady Knights will play two more games at the Chestatee tournament before the Thanksgiving break, then return Nov. 27 when they travel to Butler to take on the Class A defending State Champions, the Lady Vikings from Taylor County High School. Last season Taylor County finished with a perfect 31-0 record.
Wes McCard can be contacted at 706-647-5414 or on Twitter @WesMc21.