GIRLS' TEAM CAPSULES
Coach: John Gibson
Players to watch: Megan Ausdran (Sr., F); Amber Howard (Sr., G); Mary Ellen Williams (Sr., G)
Coach: Laura Cottrell
Players to watch: Clara Dirkse (So., F); Mary Catherine McEwen (Sr., G); Meg Sabourin (Sr., F)
Coach: Mindy Kiser
Players to watch: Atarah Abdullah-Muhammad (Jr., G); Sydnie Anderson (Jr., G); Norah Berry (So., F)
Coach: Derek Morris
Players to watch: Jessica Caudle (Jr., PG); Tiffany Lewis (Jr., G); Brynn Moon (Sr., G)
Girls Preparatory School
Coach: Susan Crownover
Players to watch: Simone Busby (Sr., F); Chadarryl Clay (Sr., PG); Jeneh Perry (Sr., F)
Coach: Dewayne Watkins
Players to watch: Courtney Crawford (Jr., G); Jessica White (Sr., W/P); Haley Gilbert (Sr., G); Tierney Howard (6-5 Jr., C)
Coach: Greg Brown
Players to watch: Carley Fetzer (Sr., P); Halle Ford (So., PG); Melissa Fraire (Sr., W/P)
Coach: Terrie Parks
Players to watch: Juanita Montgomery (Jr., G); Kennedi Speight (Jr., F); Desheta Stevens (Jr, G/F)
When Carley Fetzer makes a mistake, Northwest Whitfield coach Greg Brown doesn't say much. With the transformation of her game in four seasons, along with the way he pushed her the previous three, Brown thinks she's earned a little leeway.
The 6-foot post and her teammates will get their first crack at the Times Free Press Best of Preps tournament this week when they face Baylor in the final girls' game Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. at Arts & Sciences.
The Chattanooga Christian and Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe girls start the day at 10 a.m., while the second game pits GPS and East Hamilton. Cleveland and Tyner will play at 1 p.m. before the Lady Bruins and Lady Red Raiders.
Fetzer has transformed from a defensive-minded rebounder to the Lady Bruins' primary offensive option this season. Two seasons ago, the team had the presence of Quanisha McCurty, a 6-foot-6 forward who transferred to Dalton after the season and now is a freshman at Indiana University.
"Scoring is probably my biggest strength as of now," Fetzer said. "I think I can make plays happen. Last year, I probably would have said rebounding. I didn't score as much, but my role has changed from year to year."
Said Brown: "Carley has got a lot of better at transition; she can run when she wants to. She's also become more versatile in her ability to score, and I think she's getting more comfortable in moves that she makes in the post, because she's practiced and worked on them so much.
"I knew what kind of player Carley could be. She's becoming more vocal on the floor; she's earned the right for me to praise her some and trust her. She's still going to make mistakes at times, but she's earned the trust to where she understands that and I don't have to yell at her."
One of those areas where mistakes are happening is on defense, where Fetzer describes herself as "not very good.
"My first three years, we fronted the post, and now we're playing three-quarters behind," she said. "When you front, you don't have to worry about getting beat because you're supposed to have help behind you."
Fetzer and her teammates are prepared for their first-ever appearance in the Best of Preps tournament, which differs from in years past when the team traveled to Atlanta to play in the Deep South Classic.
"It's close to home, and that's something we were definitely looking for," Brown said. "There's some great competition there and we're going to see some different styles. There'll be athletes and there'll be fundamental teams, but it's going to be great competition."