One Loss Walkersville Girls Basketball Ready for More Success
For Walkersville head coach Rick Little, his first year in charge of the school's girls basketball program could not be going much better. The Lions are 19-1 this season, outscoring opponents by an average of 25.2 points per game.
Though it's Little's first year coaching this group, it isn't his first time coaching at the school. He coached the girls program for one year as head coach during the 1984-85 season, and also spent time as an assistant for both the boys and girls teams.
A member of the Walkersville community since 1982, Little says going back to coach for the Lions has been like coming home.
"Coaching this team has been better than I could've imagined. The players are very committed, and the parents are very supportive," Little said. "I could not have asked for a better situation."
A big reason for Walkersville's success on the court this year has been the team's defense. The Lions have held their opponents to 40 points or less in 14 of their games this year, including four of their past six games. On average, the group is giving up 32.6 points a game.
Little is quick to point to his team's sheer length when looking for a reason as to why Walkersville has been able to stymie opposing offenses so effectively- eight of Walkersville's 12 players are at least 5-foot-8, five of which are 5-foot-10 or taller.
"We play an inside out form of defense, and our number one rule is no layups," Little said. "I feel our length allows us to not only close down the lane, but also get outside and challenge the jump shooters."
Another aspect of the Lions' game is their athleticism- despite the team's size, it's a quick and dynamic bunch.
"This combination allows us to be very disruptive on defense and get up the floor quickly on offense," Little said. "On the offensive end, the girls love to share the basketball, which gives all of our players the opportunity to score."
The teams unselfishness has been another key to Walkersville's success. The team has a rotation of what Little referred to of eight starters, as well as four role players. It's a dream situation for Little as a coach because whenever a starter hasn't been able to play, the role players have been able to come in and pick up the slack.
It's been a winning combination that's resulted in a handful of high profile victories, one of which came against Linganore on Dec. 13. To Little, the win proved to his group that they could play with any team in Frederick County.
Walkersville's other big win was against Oakdale on Jan. 27. The Lions started that game sluggishly, and looked to be headed for their second loss of the season.
"We overcame a 15 point halftime deficit, then pulled out the win in overtime," Little said of the 45-42 victory.
The team's resilience will be tested over the next couple weeks as the MPSSAA playoffs get underway. Walkersville has enjoyed some deep postseason runs in recent years, including 2014 when the group reached the 2A state championship.
It's a tradition Little hopes to continue, as the Lions look to make their new coach's first year back at Walkersville a title winning one.
"Our singular goal is to improve a little bit every time we walk into the gym," Little said. "All 12 of our players have worked hard and developed into a team that believes they can compete for a 2A state championship."
|February 14th, 2017||By: Wick Eisenberg|