By Brennan Waldorf
Eight games into the season and the Lady Warriors have already matched their total wins from last season, with a win over Arcadia in Oak Hall back in December. Both the Lady Warriors and Arcadia are currently in the rebuilding stages as they seek to return to glory that they once were. This season will be a true testament of the Warriors’ growth and patience in the game as they look to improve and develop their skills and knowledge daily.
The Warrior program will rise from the ashes but not without the necessary steps needed to ascend the program to the top. Head coach Lynn Williams took over the program last year and with his presence on the court came a tradition of winning. The second-year coach is not new to success. Williams was an assistant coach for a boys basketball team that captured three regional titles and back-to-back state championships in 2002-03. He has recently been more known for his winning ways on the softball field, capturing 11 consecutive district titles and 13 total over his 22 years of coaching.
The Warriors will look to pivot all season and must be crafty and hungry when it comes to scoring. This year’s team features several new faces with multiple freshmen getting lots of minutes. The young squad has only four returning players from last season and lost all its starters, including leading scorer Cassidy Jones, to graduation. The team also took a blow when Hayley Nalls was injured in the game against Northampton earlier this season. The departure of Jones and loss of Nalls will pave the way for seniors Keyaughtey Clayton and sophomore Sarah Taylor to step up and lead the Warriors.
“Last year we had some seniors step up and a good JV team allowed for a lot of player development,” Williams said of last year.
Williams knows that the team has a long way to go in all aspects of the game and daily improvements rather than game outcomes will be the key to success. “We’re a blank page, the scoreboard will not determine the success of the season,” said Williams.
This year’s team playing style so far has been scrappy and patient. During games, Williams emphasizes protecting the ball on offense and getting back on defense. The Warriors will continue to improve throughout the season as the upperclassmen polish their fundamentals and the underclassmen establish themselves in the game.
Their improvements will be minor to the untrained eye, but the Warriors have already made great strides this season. Earlier this year they were beat by the Red Devils 70-10 on the road but at home last Friday, Jan. 3, they cut their opponents scoring almost in half.
The young squad features several athletes who are completely new to the sport, after following Williams from the diamond, and were much more physical on defense. They pressed and got back with guidance from their coach and reduced their fouls greatly. Scoring was low due to shots not falling but the Warriors were able to find open shooters throughout the game. Their offense will increase throughout the season as the players gain confidence, but they’ll need some support to do so. Like all programs in the beginning stages, community support and fans attending games are crucial to success. They’ll be back in action this Saturday, Jan. 11, as they travel to Northumberland for a 1:30 p.m. tipoff.