Glass led WC’s turnaround
Published 7:57 pm Saturday, March 14, 2015
In one memorable night in December, the Warren Central Lady Vikes put the past to rest and carved out a path to the future.
It happened on the basketball court, but it wasn’t a game-winning shot or extraordinary hustle play that came to define their season.
It was a slumber party.
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“We had a sleepover and bonded,” freshman point guard T.T. Sims said. “That’s when we came together. We danced. played hide and seek, played basketball. Everybody had fun.”
From that point on, everything was a lot more fun for the Lady Vikes. The roster full of freshmen and sophomores ripped off nine wins in their next 13 games and finished in a tie for first place in Division 4-6A.
The Lady Vikes finished 15-14 for their first winning record since the 2009-10 season. The remarkable turnaround was enough to give coach Jackie Glass the Vicksburg Post’s basketball Coach of the Year award.
“I had doubts if we could win or I could lead them,” Glass said. “With all the distractions and dismissals, and that we were able to pull together a winning season, I’m proud of them.”
The distractions were the departure, for various reasons, of four of the five seniors who were on the roster at the beginning of the season. That left Shae Bracey as the only senior on the team and Lamaria Gray as the only junior. Luckily, Glass had a team full of aces up her sleeve.
Five freshmen who were part of an undefeated Little Six championship team in 2014 were thrust into the starting lineup. Three sophomores also saw their playing time significantly increase.
Glass made the move out of necessity, but also with an eye toward the future. With the 2014-15 season seemingly going nowhere, she figured it wouldn’t hurt to give the youngsters some on the job training.
Amazingly, the new-look Lady Vikes thrived. Sims led the team with 13.9 points and 2.3 steals per game. Four of the team’s top four scorers were freshmen.
“It was real rough, because as a freshman she expected a lot. We had to go through a lot, but finally came together at the end,” Sims said. “She motivated us, punished us, disciplined us. She’s like a mother, too. When we need somebody to talk to, she’s there.”
Having come through the darkness, the future seems bright for WC. Given this year’s success, a trip to the Class 6A state tournament — and maybe more — seems likely sooner rather than later.
“We could be there next year. But if you want to be there, you’ve got to work,” Glass said. “I’ve told them we can be in the Coliseum the next three or four years, but they have to work on it.”