Head coach: Stan Gatlin (1st season)
Last season: 24-8, second in district, lost to Arlington in region quarterfinals
Starters lost: 3
Starters returning: 2
Players to watch: G Sylvia Jones, G Albanie Dunn, G DeMiyah Gatlin, F Cor’Tayza Flowers, F Keyuanna Dyson
Can the Lady Cardinals build on a breakthrough 2018-19 season?
That’s the burning question this year for a team that tied a program record with 24 wins a year ago and made the region semifinals for the first time in recent history.
They’ll have to do it without some key contributors.
T’aliyah Brown, M.G. Smith and Haley Simpson, all three of whom were major contributors the last three seasons, graduated. Simpson did the dirty work inside, Smith was a solid post player and Brown led the team in scoring.
That trio will certainly be missed, but the cupboard is by no means bare.
Senior point guard Sylvia Jones, who goes by “Bug,” was the team’s second leading scorer and is the type of player who makes things happen. She was the regular season district MVP.
Shooting guard Albanie Dunn, another senior who can light it up from 3-point range, joins her to give Brighton one of the best backcourts in the area.
DeMiyah Gatlin, a junior, provided a spark off the bench last year. She’s a solid shooter, rebounder and perimeter defender who will play a larger role this season.
Sophomore wing Cor’Tayza Flowers and senior post Keyuanna Dyson have less experience than Dunn, Jones and Gatlin, but they’ll get their chance this season to contribute.
The man who coached the Lady Cardinals to all that success, David Wampler, is now coaching football at Halls High School. Stan Gatlin, the Brighton boys’ coach who assisted Wampler last year, will now be the head coach of the boys and the girls.
He doesn’t see any reason why Brighton will not maintain, or possibly surpass, the level of success established last season.
“I think we can maintain that level,” he said. “Last year was huge for the fans of Brighton basketball. This year will be a little different with me as head coach, but that transition has been pretty easy because I’ve been here.”