HERALD 2010-11 PREP BASKETBALL PREVIEW: Turner hoping youth will prevail for Albany's girls

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

ALBANY -- If you like youth movements, you will love the girls basketball program at Albany High, where the Squaws were young a year ago -- and even younger today.

Albany had only four seniors, including two-time Herald All-Metro player Jasmine Myers, a year ago when the Squaws showed flashes of success and finished third in the Region 1-AA race behind state powers Thomasville and Mitchell County.

And now? Well, the Squaws are even younger this season.

"I would say 80 percent of our players are sophomores and freshmen,'' Albany coach Telly Turner said. "We're very young.''

So does that mean a slip in the standings?

"No," she said. "I'm looking forward to finishing at the top of our region."

Of course, the region has changed.

Mitchell County, which made a run in the state playoffs with All-State center Tiona Burley leading the way last year, has dropped down from Class AA to Class A, so it won't be as crowded at the top of the region.

The Squaws had their moments last year and won six in a row and eight of nine during the stretch run of the regular season, then advanced to the region semifinals, where they fell to Thomasville. But Myers -- now at Darton -- was a big part of the team's success.

"Jasmine was a tremendous leader,'' Turner said. "She ran the point for the last three years for us.''

Losing Myers won't be easy because she meant so much to Albany, but the Squaws, who have only one senior on this year's team, do return a floor leader.

Chasity Mullins, a 5-foot-6 junior guard, not only runs the offense but she actually led Albany in rebounds last year as a sophomore guard. She averaged 12 points and eight rebounds a game.

"She just hustles for the ball,'' Turner said. "Chasity led us at times last year. She ended the season as our leading rebounder and we're looking for big things from her this season.''

Albany got a scare in its second game of the season last Saturday when Mullins took a hard fall to the floor and was rushed to the hospital for observation. She ended up being OK, and was released later -- much to Turner's delight.

"I don't even have a position for Chasity," Turner said. "If we had to make up a position for her, we would. She can make the 3, she can drive, she rebounds well.''

Turner has one senior, Michelle Edwards, a 5-10 presence inside, and Kizzy Coleman, a 5-6 junior, and Briana Williams, a 5-5 sophomore also return. They're young but many players have experience.

That's the way Turner sees it. She may be dealing with a youth movement, but as long as the movement goes in the right direction, she thinks her team will be ready when the region schedule comes around after the holidays.

"We need for Kizzy and Michelle to step up this year,'' Turner said. "I definitely think we can be better.

"We have to come together in these early games and get better, but I would like for it to be smooth sailing by January.''