• 55°

Water Valley’s Sayles sees steady progress in first weeks at the helm

The task is tall but 10 days in there are steps being taken in the right direction.

Bernadette Sayles is still settling in as the newest head coach of the Water Valley girls basketball team but the former Blue Devil is happy with where things are heading.

After finishing up her duties at Coffeeville High School Sayles officially moved over to Water Valley’s staff on June 8. Since then it has been non-stop in the gym and in the weight room.

“It’s going great. Got a lot of potential,” Sayles said. “I see improvement but we’re most definitely not where I would want us to be. The summer games give you a chance to see what you need to work on.”

Sayles was introduced as the new head coach in early April and met with the returning players for the 2018-19 season. With two months of distant to contact due to Sayles finishing out her contract at Coffeeville there was a chance of the players losing sight of her vision. That has not been the case since Sayles has returned.

“They’ve been very excited,” Sayles said. “Everybody’s been showing up for practice and that’s a good thing. They’re excited and ready to get better.”

Sayles and the Blue Devils have already gotten eight games under their belts during the summer schedule. The schedule was determined by Sayles, who takes her team to Calhoun City every Monday and have also played against Senatobia, West Tallahatchie, Rosa Fort and New Albany.

The season is not for another five months but Sayles is already slowly working on bettering the Blue Devils in certain phases of the game.

“It’s all about the carry over from practice to the games,” Sayles said. “We’re working on defense most definitely. Press defense, full court, half court. Defense is going to be the main thing because you can play great defense, get a steal, lay the ball up and that’s two points.”

Water Valley will continue holding practices and games throughout the remainder of June. Sayles will then determine what kind of schedule the team will have in July before school resumes in August.

The Blue Devils will play Calhoun City and Amory on Monday night and have a game against Independence scheduled.