Girls' All-Area Coach of the Year: Goldsboro's Latina Bullock-Davis
By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on March 20, 2011 1:51 AM
Cherish every moment is the message first-year Goldsboro High School girls' basketball coach LaTina Bullock-Davis constantly implored upon her team this season.
Bullock-Davis guided the Cougars to a 23-5 record and an appearance in the N.C. High School Athletic Association 1-A eastern regional championship game. It was Goldsboro's first trip to the regionals since 2005.
Bullock-Davis took over an underclassmen-rich team that lost its top two starters to graduation. For her efforts, she is the 2010-11 News-Argus All-Area Girls' Coach of the Year.
A former basketball standout at Norfolk State University, Bullock-Davis spent three seasons as an assistant coach for former Goldsboro head coach Brandy Smith. Smith resigned last summer after four seasons with the Cougars to become head coach at new 2-A school Corinth-Holders High School in Johnston County.
Bullock-Davis inherited a team that had won the Carolina 1-A Conference regular-season championship a year ago. Lacking ball handlers and experience, but full of talent, Bullock-Davis diligently molded her team throughout the course of the season.
Goldsboro had just two seniors on its roster, and its starting lineup routinely included three sophomores and two juniors.
Bullock-Davis patiently pushed her team to improve its conditioning, while cultivating a family atmosphere in the locker room.
"A lot of girls don't really think about getting in shape and they don't go play basketball in their free time like guys do," said Bullock-Davis. "Getting them in shape was one of the major things I wanted to focus on. It was just like a family this year. We were all on the same page and had the same agenda as far as what we wanted to accomplish."
Goldsboro entered the Christmas break with a 6-3 record, but lost back-to-back games to Southern Nash and Charles B. Aycock. The Cougars reeled off 11 consecutive wins in Carolina 1-A Conference play and claimed their second consecutive regular-season league title.
Junior center Kasheika Wallace provided a dominant presence on the interior, and averaged 11 points and seven rebounds a game. Junior forward Alexus Myles and sophomore forward Brandi Johnson each scored 11 points a contest. The duo provided athleticism on the perimeter.
Talaya Lassiter supplied nine points a game and kept opposing defenses honest with her outside shooting ability.
"This year I added some stuff to help us be more cohesive and be more of a team unit," said Bullock-Davis. "We have several girls with a lot of potential. Their ability to work together and communicate really grew."
Goldsboro lost to Ayden-Grifton in the Carolina 1-A Conference tournament finals for the second consecutive year. The Cougars responded with four straight wins in the N.C. High School Athletic Association 1-A playoffs before losing 54-38 to Southwest Onslow in the east finals.
"I believe the conference championship game we lost really opened up their eyes," said Bullock-Davis. "It made them realize we have the potential to go farther than what we originally thought. I think some of the girls were a little skeptical. I continued to encourage them and motivate them that there we no limits."
As Goldsboro progressed through the state playoffs, the smile on Bullock-Davis' face following each win continued to grow. With her entire team returning next season, Bullock-Davis remains optimistic about building upon a first season she enjoyed to the fullest.
"It brought back memories from my college days at Norfolk State when we used to travel to the CIAA Conference tournament," said Bullock-Davis. "I stressed to the girls how privileged they were. Not every team makes it as far as we did. It was an honor and they had every right to be proud of it."
So does Bullock-Davis.
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