Girls Basketball Team Got “A Little Better Every Day” and That Attitude Led to a 23 Win Season
by Alec Parker
2016-2017 Girls Lions Basketball team was the team to watch this year. With a 23-3 record, the Lions averaged 56 points/game, and gave up only 34 points/game. The Lions played amazing offense and defense. They made it to the semifinals where they lost in a tough game, but the Lions are definitely ready for next season.
The Coach Richard Little, had a lot to say about the team’s performance and how they are getting ready for next season. “When we started practice in November, I truly felt like we could be a very good team if we worked hard at practice to get ‘a little better every day.’ We did start the season with some confidence-building wins that got the ball rolling toward the very successful season that the girls earned with their hard work.”
WHSLIONSPRIDE: What was it like for your first year coaching at Walkersville?
Little: “I have actually been a part of the Walkersville community since 1982. I had the honor of assisting some really good head coaches over the years, including Susan Pardo, Mike Mummert, and Mike Mathis. It felt like I was coming home to coach one of the top programs in the state.”
WHSLP: What goals did you set for before this season?
Little: “We had a singular goal all season: to get ‘a little better every day’ we were in the gym. We felt that if we worked hard and paid attention to the details, then the outcome of the games would take care of themselves.”
WHSLP: What goals do you have for next season?
Little: “Next season we will work to continue the girl’s development and get a little better every time we are in the gym together, with the goal of each player reaching her fullest potential as a person and as a basketball player.”
WHSLP: How did it feel to make it so far in the playoffs, being it is your first year?
Little: “I am just so very proud of this team for the way they never gave up. This attitude propelled these girls to the brink of a Regional Championship.”
WHSLP: How does it feel to win 23 games, which was the most since the 2006-2007 season?
Little: “Again, I’m just so proud of these young ladies. This team will go down as one of the top teams in the storied history of this outstanding program.”
WHSLP: Where did you coach before Walkersville?
Little: “Right before returning to Walkersville, I worked with Head Coach Becky Martin at McDaniel College in Westminster, MD. Coach Martin is an icon in Division III women’s basketball. The three years I spent on her staff made me a better women’s basketball coach.”
WHSLP: What made you want to coach for Walkersville?
Little: “As stated previously, I have been a member of this community since 1982, and I was honored to be selected to lead one of the top girls programs in the state of Maryland. I would not have left McDaniel for any other high school program.”
WHSLP: What would you say to the seniors who you had the pleasure to coach in their final season?
Little: “Thank you and I love you. They accepted a new coach with a new system, and they lead our team through an unbelievable season – a season of which many programs only dream.”
WHSLP: If you could sum up the season in one word, what would it be?
Little: “Can I use three – Living the Dream!”
Some players and fans also had something to say about how they felt about the season. “It [didn’t] feel that far. Overall it was a fun season. To win the championship and hold up the trophy is what I’m looking forward to next season. My favorite part was playing with Julie and Megan and everybody else. Driving to the basket is what I need to work on,” said sophomore Eve Bernardoni.
“It was good that we won most of our games, but ended too short. I feel accomplished to win 24 games. The Salisbury tournament was so fun. [I am] shooting more outside shots for next season,” said sophomore Julie Wallace.
“I think overall [it was a] good season and we had a winning record and key to our defense. My goals are to win states and to get better in basketball. My favorite part of the season is playing with friends and having a laugh during practice. I think we could communicate more on defense and win games and hold teams down,” said junior Rian Wright.
“It was pretty successful but ended earlier than expected and [that] shows that we have a lot of young talent. Next year will be a similar season, but we go further in the playoffs. [It was] pretty entertaining to watch every game. Really fun to cheer. Earlier in the season there were no fans and then when the playoffs started the fans came out and cheered loud,” said senior Garrett Allen.
“I thought they did really well with the second best record in the county behind Frederick. And with the youth, they outplayed their own level of success. But with youth [players] they need to learn and not always having to make comebacks in the second half. They will learn that you can only come back from a deficit 9 out of 10 times. I’m excited to see the ninth and tenth graders develop. I think they will pick up from last year with similar intentions and take the losses and learn from them. Similar to the football team, they will motivate themselves to go further next season,” said Principal Tracey Franklin.
“I think it was a solid season. We just had a bad game, the shots and rebounds just didn’t go their way. I expect them to do solid next season and they’re a young team. It’s a good feeling. It’s been really good to be a fan and been really good for the Walkersville community with all wins,” said senior Josh Clegg.
Overall the Girls Lions Basketball team was really great, and had a large impact on the school. This year ended quicker than people wanted, but with the young sophomores, and juniors getting more experience. I wouldn’t be surprised if Walkersville made it back, and pushed themselves into the championship game next year.