Because while Stephens takes on a new role leading the Bowdon High School girls basketball program, she’s known the majority of the players for most of their lives, including two of them being her daughter and niece.
Stephens took over the Red Devilette program after former coach Melissa Ring stepped down, and the new head coach moves up from the middle school program, where she coached her current players in both basketball and softball just a few years ago.
The senior class actually won the West Georgia Middle School League championship under Stephens, and she’s hopeful that the hardcourt reunion will get that magic back.
“So they won the championship as eighth-graders, and to come back I feel blessed. It’s amazing to coach them again in the future. Winning that middle school championship, this group of girls as the middle school coach and to come back their senior year and try this again, I’m excited,” Stephens said.
The Red Devilette coach said one of the neatest things about coaching them again is seeing how much they’ve matured over the past few years.
“It’s the most amazing thing where you go from working on a lay-up to now a step-back jumper. That type of thing. Just watching them mature, it’s just amazing,” Stephens said.
Bowdon, which opens the season at Haralson County on Friday, returns six seniors that have all played major minutes in past years, including three girls that will be four-year starters.
Jacole Stephens, the coach’s niece, leads the way after averaging 14 points, eight rebounds and six assists last season, while senior guard Whitney McClure also averaged double figures last year at 10 points per contest to go along with six assists and five steals a game. Bowdon also returns seniors Lyric Maze, Trinity Strickland, Jena Lane and Sydney Boddie, along with junior Reshay Brewer — the coach’s daughter — and sophomores Natalie Brown and Libbie Brock, among others.
“I’ve known all of them since they were small. My daughter is a junior and my niece is a senior. So this group of girls, I’ve been around them all their life,” noted Remonica Stephens, who is originally from Bowdon.
The Red Devilettes move up to Class AA this year, competing in Region 5-AA with local rivals Bremen, Temple and Heard County, along with the Columbus-area schools — Chattahoochee County, Manchester, Kendrick, Spencer and Jordan.
Remonica Stephens said you can expect competitive games night-in and night-out when competing against the aforementioned programs.
“We’ve all heard the Kendrick stories and I know Heard County won the region last year. So we know they’re a strong team. Bremen has five starters returning. I don’t know much about some of the other ones, but it’s going to be tough,” Remonica Stephens said.
And while there is a new coach at the helm, Bowdon will still be running a lot of the same things it did under Ring in recent years.
“She’s made my job easier. We didn’t change a lot of things they did with her. We’re going to go with that. You know, tweak a few things, but the core is still what they’ve been doing. And it’s been working. They took some bruises as freshmen, but I think each year they’ve progressed. Now we just want to continue that progression,” Remonica Stephens said.
Of course, with the season right around the corner, the Red Devilettes are ready to finally hit the court and begin a new — and old — era of hoops in Bowdon.
“I know three of [the seniors] started as freshmen, so they’ve played for the last three years. This year is going to be exciting for them. You know, they played softball and it didn’t work out the way they wanted, so they’re kind of hungry. They’re excited. I can’t wait,” Remonica Stephens said.