For the girls, the Portal Holiday Classic served as a confidence booster, despite falling in all three contests.
The biggest surprise to Dennis, the girls’ head coach, may have come in the Lady Bulldogs’ efforts in game one against Long County, where the girls took the game into overtime only to come up short four points at the buzzer.
“I think we’re starting to figure out offensively, starting to trust each other and looking for the open pass, and looking for shots and taking them with some confidence,” he said. “They’re playing like they played this summer. They’re a little more scrappy, and they’re diving on the floor for loose balls —they’re getting after it.
“They’re doing what we’re asking and playing hard. They’re starting to believe. You can see it in the way that they play — they’re playing for each other.”
Dennis admits the defense has continued to get better as well.
“We’re more aggressive when we play man,” he said. “It translates over to the offense a little bit and it pushes the pace. As long as we’re being active and aggressive, it’s OK.”
Having a breakthrough season so far, Karlie Harding continued to lead GMC Prep in the tournament, scoring in the double digits in each of the games with her best performance coming in the final contest against Southeast Bulloch where she earned 15 points, seven rebounds, five assists and two steals.
“She’s scoring, she’s distributing the ball, she’s playing great defense — right now she’s doing everything for us,” Dennis said. “For us, she can score inside, and her shots are starting to fall so she can score outside. I think right now she’s our leading scorer, our second-leading rebounder and leading us in steals, so she’s doing a bit of it all.”