Leesville’s Girls Basketball has defined improvement over the past several years.
Three years ago, girls basketball was 2-22. It was clear that Leesville needed to step up their game to be able to compete with other Cap-8 powerhouses like Broughton and Millbrook.
“Where the team is today is never where I would have thought a few years ago. My first season on varsity was not the best season and I felt the team lost confidence with every game,” said junior Kelly Funderburk.
“A lot of work was done in the offseason and a lot of players did individual training,” said Hal Wertich, the girls basketball head coach. “We also went and lifted weights as a team, and we have more players now that play year round.”
“It’s satisfying,” he said, when asked what this improvement meant to him. “Improvement only comes with hard work, and I know this [improvement] is satisfying to me and the players.”
Wertich will be retiring this June, so the school is in the process of looking for a new coach. Wertich hopes that the returning starters will lead the team and that there should be “no reason Leesville shouldn’t be competing for first.”
Anna Weeks, Leesville senior and girls basketball starter, said, ”To improve myself personally, I not only play during the regular season but in the off-season. The off-season is what matters most for becoming better…Leesville has continuous off-season workouts to keep us busy.”
Weeks was a captain for the team this season and says that “being on this team has meant everything…being a captain this year was a great learning experience and an honor.”
Kelly Funderburk, junior and returning starter for the team, said that she has “worked on [her] strength and ball handling.”
As a team, the girls put in more and more strenuous preseason work than in the past, but each of the girls’ individual work in the off-season is what created most of their improvement. All of the girls had a shared motivation: winning. They realized to grow as a team they needed to grow as leaders and players individually.
While the team may have had captains and leaders like Weeks, the team also held a form of leadership “training” every Tuesday. These training times allowed for the players to bond together, while they all learn to be a leader of the team
Over the season, the girls all had their own strengths and weaknesses, but as a team they bonded to eliminate each individuals weakness and show the greatness of each player out on the court.
Two seasons ago, Leesville had a 2-22 record. This past year, Leesville was able to excel with a 15-9 record, including a win in the playoffs, which hadn’t happened in nearly decade.
If this upward trend continues, the Lady Pride could very well be a contender in the Cap-8 next season.