The regular season for both the boys and girls basketball programs of Washington & Lee High School have ended without a chance to compete in the upcoming district tournament this week. But coaches say work remains underway to build some competitive basketball players for the future.
Washington & Lee saw their hopes of reaching the district tournament end in a final game to Essex last Friday. W&L senior Kwame Gray tries to elude some Essex defenders in the 73-59 loss.
At the end of the regular season, the varsity boys found themselves in their second straight must-win regular season game last Friday to have a shot at reaching the tournament. However the Eagles fell short this time after reaching it last season. As for the girls, they lost all of their district games and end the year on a 13-game losing streak.
At this point no information has led to the idea that either teams will compete in the regional tournament, but in the meantime coaches Kelsey Farmer, of the girls, and George Hunter, of the boys, will continue to encourage their student athletes to improve individually.
“We have to come back better individually, not just as a team,” said Hunter about his boys’ team. “ Everybody knows a coach can say things to motivate you, but nothing is like having a teammate stepping up and telling people what to do.”
There were some bright spots of leaders, Hunter said, but all of the players were not receptive of hearing their teammates advice.
“I’m very optimistic about next year with the JV winning the district championship,” Hunter said, adding that he would like to see a few of them move to the varsity level. Only two seniors leave after this season including Kwame Gray and CJ Harris.
Between becoming leaders, remaining focused and improving individually, Hunter said he hopes his players planning to return will use this year as a learning experience after so many close games lost.
In respects to the girls, Farmer said her motivation to offer the girls a basketball program outside of school came when she attended a local YMCA event with mostly boys.
“With me being an advocate for girls sports, no way was this going to fly with me,” said Farmer.
The coach has now completed week two of a young ladies basketball league with players from between the ages of 12-15. Farmer said she saw some improvements in her girls at the end of the season compared to the beginning. She hopes the additional training will be helpful.
“The mentality I get from the fans and parents is that there is this perception we must be great just because we are a team and people love basketball,” Farmer said. “But hard work has to come in and all the kids coming to W&L need to be playing competitively.”
Farmer said she feels as though learning the skills on the playing field and responsibilities in life go hand in hand. In turn, she added that it would improve them as students.
The boys’ team finished with an overall record 8-12, 3-7 in the district. The girls’ team will lose seniors Kendawanna Fulcher and Jaid White after posting an overall record of 2-18, 0-9 in the district.