WIGGINS, MS (WLOX) - Facing a 10-point third quarter deficit, a buzzer-beating, last-second three pointer, and still overcoming it all for a victorious outing.
If Tuesday’s 56-55 win over West Harrison in their district opener is any indication, the Stone girls basketball team could be a problem for any opponent standing in their way.
“Me and (assistant coach Chris Hartfield) are very, very proud of the way our girls don’t give up," head coach Samuel Smith said after the win. "They keep scratching and bite the nail at the end. So far we’ve been lucky, we’ve come up on the winning side.”
In fact, they’ve become quite familiar with coming up on the winning side. Sitting at 16-0, the Lady Cats are off to their best start in Smith’s 23-year tenure as head coach.
“I tell my kids all the time that your bulls-eye’s on your back and it’s getting bigger with every game you win," Smith said. "You’re gonna have to wind up keeping your head in the game, get focused and get determined on what we need to do.”
Pouring in 15.4 points per game, freshman phenom Hayleigh Breland is a big reason for their success. However, above all individual accolades, the Lady Cats point to a shared vision as the biggest factor for their perfect start.
“It’s all about team chemistry. We believe in each other. It ain’t no one man show," senior power forward Laila Hill said. "Just believing in your teammates and also believing in yourself.”
“Our kids gelled together, and they played real hard," Smith said of the start. "We’ve relatively got a young ball club, but they have played extremely well together.”
Only nine games separate Stone from an undefeated regular season, but ask anyone on the team, and they’ll tell you. Chasing perfection is not what motivates the Lady Cats.
“Family is important," Hill said. "We’re a family. That’s what’s important to us, we love each other and we just like to play ball with each other. We’re not really worried about the record. We’re just worried about playing ball, that’s all it’s all about.”
The Lady Cats put their undefeated record on the line Friday when they host Long Beach.