Luke Buckner has a specific goal in mind for his first season as coach of the Starkville Christian Lady Cougars.
For a program that has found wins hard to come by over the last couple of seasons, Buckner believes there's enough talent at Starkville Christian to achieve a winning season.
"I believe we will if everything comes together," Buckner said.
If the first game against the Jackson Victors was any indication, the Lady Cougars may have what it takes to reach that goal.
Starkville Christian came up short against the Victors, but came back from a large deficit to only lose 48-46 which impressed Buckner.
"It was good, especially with it being the first game of the year," Buckner said. "You can only ask so much. Many of them played together in previous years, probably two or three years now, so they've gotten to know each other and that's good. Still, for the first game of the season, I was as happy as I could be."
With only three seniors on the team, the Lady Cougars can still be considered a young squad.
Buckner is anxious to see how much the girls can grow during the course of the season.
"They can still learn and some of them will learn better than others," Buckner said. "There is definitely room to improve. I'm anxious to see how far we can go."
Defense has been one of the areas where Buckner has noticed improvement, but wants to see the squad improve its passing skills.
Starkville Christian plans to rely heavily on seniors Sydney Whitehead, Malory Horstemeyer and Laken Buckner for leadership.
Buckner put his trust in Whitehead in the first game of the season when the Lady Cougars needed a basket.
Trailing 48-43, Whitehead made a 3-point field goal to pull SCS to within two points.
"We relied on Sydney big time in the fourth quarter," Buckner said. "She was my go-to girl and I believed she was going to hit that shot. We're going to need her throughout the whole season."
Whitehead wants to be in a position to help the team, but understands what it takes to enjoy success.
"I prayed before that happened," Whitehead said of the shot she made at the end of the first game. "That wasn't me at all. I want to be an example of Christ when I'm on the court as well as off the court."
With the Lord's help and the guidance of Buckner, Whitehead likes the possibilities for Starkville Christian this season.
"He's a really good coach," Whitehead said of Buckner. "He's helped us with our dribbling skills and everything. He's helped us with our shot and encourages us all the time.
"We can win a lot of games this year. The team knows each other more since we've been playing with each other for a long time and I believe we can have a good season."