In the past, Kiki Radford has leaned on a lot of experience to lead her teams.
Trinitee Jackson and Aaliyah Hampton are just two of the most recent, but times are changing at Christian County.
But the Lady Colonels are starting to see a youth movement.
“It has been upperclassmen over the past couple of years,” she said. “But why not have the upperclassmen along with the young girls and have that combination of old, experienced players and having the young players mixed in that have the drive and determination to get better.”
Radford has turned to seventh-grade guard Anaysia Bagwell, placing the youngster into the fire at the varsity level, and she has risen to the occasion.
“Anaysia is not the ordinary seventh-grader,” Radford said. “She’s an outstanding basketball player. Sometimes on the basketball court, you can see glimpses of her being young. She might make a mistake or miss a key pass or take a shot when we’re up and need to pull it out. But, overall, she’s been getting better. She’s that player that texts me all the time at night saying, ‘Coach, what do I need to do? What can I do in order to help the team?’ You can’t teach passion. She brings that passion day in and day out and she has been working hard to improve her game and it’s definitely showing. I’ve always told the girls it doesn’t matter what grade they’re in if they’re going to have that passion and that drive and come out and put the work in, they’re going to play. And she’s definitely taking advantage of it. It’s just the beginning and I can’t wait to see her grow and develop and lead us.”
Getting her first varsity action against Hopkinsville, Bagwell showed a high knowledge of the game and her passing ability is years beyond her age.
Bagwell scored just five points in the Lady Colonels’ 58-38 win, but had a part in many more scoring plays in the win.
“I was just trying to help my team out as a guard should,” Bagwell said. “Just help all around.”
Bagwell has since been placed into the starting lineup and has continued to showcase her abilities for County. Since she started generating minutes, the Lady Colonels are 5-2.
However, she still wants to improve on the floor.
“(I want to improve) my defense,” Bagwell said. “I want to be better with my rotations and defending shots.”
Bagwell has been a work in progress under Radford for well over a year now, and now that she can at the varsity level, she’ll do nothing but grow.
“She’s been practicing with us for a year and a half now,” Radford said of Bagwell. “Just seeing her skill level, it just needed to be with us (on the varsity team). She wasn’t going to get any better playing against the middle school teams. So I talked to her mom and talked to the coach over at the middle school and we just made the decision that it was time. Her and Nevaeh Day both, in order for the two of them to get the attention from the college scouts and get the motivation and time in the gym to get better, they had to be over here with us.
“Being young, they’ve still got some things to learn. As long as they continue to have that passion and that drive, you’re going to hear their names over the next couple of years and I can’t wait to see what they can achieve.”