PREP BASKETBALL: ‘Have a good bond with the team’: Hanceville’s Aaliyah Twitty talks freshman season

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Hanceville’s Aaliyah Twitty. (Martha Needham/The Cullman Tribune)

HANCEVILLE, Ala. — The 2022-2023 season has come to an end for the Hanceville Lady Bulldogs and they competed and got better as the season went on. The future is definitely looking brighter for Hanceville and a freshman on this year’s team, Aaliyah Twitty, talked about her experience on varsity and what all she learned from playing with her teammates.

“We knew going into the season it was going to be tough, but we pushed through and ended on a good note. We improved so much throughout the year. Being a freshman on varsity was a great opportunity and I learned a lot. I learned that it’s nothing like playing in middle school, and you’re going to have to put in a lot of work to get better. I knew with playing on varsity, you’re playing against different grade levels, so there’s going to be competition.” Twitty said. “I also learned to have a good bond with the team you’re playing with.”

She added,

“It was a good experience playing with my teammates. With them being all older than me, they definitely taught me things I didn’t think I could do, and they helped bring my confidence up. I loved being close with the girls I played on the court with. They taught me that if I didn’t score or made a mistake, keep pushing through. When we played Cold Springs at Hanceville, whenever I made a mistake, they would tell me ‘You got this’ or ‘Hey Aaliyah, you’re good’. They would bring me up.”

Aaliyah played with three seniors this season in Savana McAnnally, Jessica Marshall and Dierra Merriweather. They taught her a very important lesson and Aaliyah will miss playing with them next season.

“It was great. In the locker room before games, they’d have good energy, and they would make the team smile and laugh. I learned to always have a good attitude when things are or aren’t going the way you would like for them to go,” she said. “I’ll miss the way they would make the team laugh and smile.”

Aaliyah played for head coach Christina Watson her first season on varsity and learned a lot from her.

“She’s one of the best coaches I have had. She was tough on us, but only because she always wanted us to be better than we were the day before. I learned that even when you’re up or down in the game, you still need to keep your effort up. She cares about us on and off the court. For example, she’d make sure our grades were a priority and told us we always needed to keep our grades up.”

Aaliyah got to play alongside her twin sister, Alex, for half of the varsity season, and she was so happy to get to play with her. Aaliyah saw her game improve a lot throughout the season and that will definitely help build her confidence up even more going into the upcoming season. She plans to work on some other things in the offseason as well.

“When my sister started playing with us, it was amazing because every time she would score, I’d be proud of her because she’s my little sister and I’d be happy for her.”

“It improved a lot, and it will help it a lot. In the offseason, we’re going to put in work, and I feel like it will help us next season. I’ll definitely work on my outside shots and my ball-handling, since 95% of my baskets this year was from the paint. I feel like a lot of teams know I’ll go for a shot in the paint, so I’m going to work on my outside shots so I can put up some next season.”

Aaliyah has some goals set for herself and for the team. She also talked about what will make this team special to watch next season and a very special memory from this season.

“An individual goal would be to get better at ball-handling and be faster on defense. Our team goal is to win area,” she said. “We’re going to be special to watch because we’re going to get better, we’re going to believe in ourselves, and we’re going to compete with other teams next season. One memory I’ll never forget is when we competed against Cold Springs. The first time we played them, we lost by 30, but when we played them at Hanceville, it was different. We made shots, we played hard, and every time one of our teammates would score, we’d get beyond happy because it felt good to compete with Cold Springs. No one expected us to be able to compete with them, but we were able to.”

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