By Heather Berry- The North Buncombe Middle School Girls’ Basketball Team ended the regular season with only one loss. The loss came at the last game of the season Feb. 2 against Enka, 45-44. The NBMS team went undefeated until the final game.
The NBMS girls basketball team is a co-champion of the French Broad Conference with a current record, including post-season, of 15 – 1. The team defeated Owen Monday in the first tournament game.
The NBMS Lady BlackHawks go into the final championship game of the tournament tonight, Feb. 9, against Enka with tipoff at 4:30 p.m. at Owen Middle School.
“While we have already bested our season record last year (14 – 3), we are hopeful to seal the deal with a victory against Enka and become outright champions,” said Sarah LaGuardia, NBMS girls’ basketball head coach.
According to LaGuardia, the team began the year with high expectations, thanks to their 14-3 record last season.
“This season, it has been exciting to see the growth of the girls as individuals, but also as they learn to play as a unit,” said LaGuardia.
The coach believes there are some fundamental keys to team’s success. “We teach quality skills based basketball,” she said. In addition, LaGuardia said she demands hard work from her players.
“From tipoff to last buzzer, it is all-out pressure on defense and, then, quick attack on offense,” she explained. “It is our intention that the other team doesn’t get to rest while the clock is running.
LaGuardia also credits the athleticism of her team. “We have some very good athletes for 12 to 14-year olds,” she said. “We also try to educate the girls about the psychology involved in athletics and the mental preparation necessary for a positive outcome,” she added.
The coach has added some community service too. In December, the NBMS team went to Emerald Ridge to give gifts to residents. Early in January, they attended a Tennessee Lady Vols basketball game together.
“So much of the credit of our success goes to the girls who come to practice and our games ready to work,” said LaGuardia. “Credit also goes to the parents who invested in their daughters long before we had the privilege to coach them,” she added. LaGuardia also said she gives a lot of credit to Kevin Laws, the team’s assistant coach, who, she said, has a “brilliant” basketball mind.
“We are more like co-coaches,” she said. “Credit also goes to God for allowing me to work and coach at North Buncombe Middle School, and be a part of a very rare and beautiful season of athletics.”