Head coach: Keagan Bran (first season)

Last season: 3-15, lost in region quarterfinals

Key players lost: DeMiyah Gatlin

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Key players returning: Gus Johnson, Mariah Maclin, Precious Dennisdan

COVID-19 affected all high basketball teams in some way last year, but it may have hit the Brighton girls’ basketball team the hardest.

Several potential players distance-learned all school year and chose not to play. Plus, DeMiyah Gatlin, the team’s best player who is now starting at Southwest Tennessee Community College, missed most of the year with an injury.

That all added up to a pretty dismal season. Two of the team’s three wins were COVID forfeits and the Lady Cardinals didn’t win a game on the court until the district tournament play-in game.

This season should be better as first-year head coach Keagan Bran looks to instill confidence on a very young team with no seniors.

Bran coined the process a “cultural renaissance.”

“We’ve got to get them to have a more attacking attitude,” Bran said. “They’ve got to learn to be competitive instead of just playing.”

Junior guard Gus Johnson, the team’s second leading scorer last year at 7.5 points per game, is clearly the most experienced player. Sophomore post player Mariah Maclin is also back after starting a year ago and Precious Dennisdan is a sophomore guard who saw playing time last season.

The rest of the roster has little to no varsity experience. Sophomore Destiny Pruitt is a promising guard and Angelyah Crawford and Marina Ripoll are two sophomore forwards who will be in the mix.

Brighton played Hutchison, the defending DII-AA state champs, in the jamboree last Saturday. Hutchison won comfortably, but Bran said he saw some positive things from his young team.

“I thought we did pretty well,” he said. “There was not a lack of competitiveness, so that’s something to build on.”

Jeff Ireland
Author: Jeff Ireland

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