The Union Recorder

February 7, 2014

UR ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: Sophomore leads Lady Bulldogs late in season

Steven Cary
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — Coming on in the second half of the season for the Georgia Military Prep School girls’ basketball team, Kaylie Harding has recently posted big numbers to help her team pick up important victories as the post-season rapidly approaches.

After taking nearly one week off from competition due to weather, the Lady Bulldogs contested Twiggs County last week on Friday, Jan. 31 on the road, and Harding posted 19 points to propel the team to a 51-38 region win.

Harding also added to the team’s defensive efforts with 11 rebounds and 2 steals in the contest against the Lady Cobras.

“Kaylie has the ability to play guard and a post player, and so I ask her to do a little more,” head coach Shawn Dennis said. “She does a lot of things well for us — she can shoot, she can drive, she’s our leading rebounder, she can score when she puts her mind to it and gets to the free throw line, she does everything for us; she’s just that kind of player.”

Better late than never, Harding has contributed big minutes for the GMC Prep girls as of late with solid performances this week, but her best coming in the second of the team’s three-game stretch against First Presbyterian Day School on Tuesday, Feb. 4 when she led the squad with 12 points and 6 rebounds.

“She’s always had the ability since I coached her back when she was an eighth grader playing JV, but somehow it just seemed to get lost in her head, but it was always there,” Dennis said. “She just had to figure out, ‘I can do this’ and trust in herself and believe in herself. Really, that’s all it was. Against Twiggs, she just exploded for us.

“She’s just an athlete. It wasn’t going to be long before she figured out how to do it and could see the development. It’s starting to click for her.”

In only her second season as a varsity basketball player at GMC Prep, Dennis believes Harding has a lot of untapped potential and shows glimpses of a bright future in the sport if she so desires.

“She’s just a sophomore, so she has two more years and she’s going to be really good,” he said. “She’s good now, but she can be really good if she puts her mind to it.”

Without the sophomore standout on the floor all winter, Dennis admits the Lady Bulldogs would have been a different team dynamic this season.

The proud head coach is pleased to have the opportunity to coach a player like Harding.

“I’m just glad she’s out there,” he said. “She gives us a lot of toughness and she doesn’t take anything off of anybody. It’s just great to have her out there."