As the season ended for the Academics Plus Lady Falcons last week, they experienced both the highs and lows.
In the first round of the district tournament, the Lady Falcons (4-21) defeated KIPP Delta, 68-56. Then they suffered a lopsided loss to Nemo Vista last Tuesday. The KIPP Delta victory did give Coach Ken Holland some hope for next year.
"That was huge for us," he said. "We did some things and started rebounding. Point guard Lisa (Goodwin) started driving to the middle of the court and dishing out, and Bailey (Kirby) hit some shots."
For about two to three minutes, Academics Plus played with Nemo Vista. Then, Nemo brought in ninth-graders who moved up and went on a 12-0 run that the Lady Falcons could never overcome.
One thing Holland was pleased with was the progress of Kirby, a sophomore guard. After averaging 1.6 points per game, she accumulated 16 and 21 in the Lady Falcons’ last two contests.
"We got production from her at the end of the season," Holland said. "She was more confident and was shooting the ball down the stretch."
Holland only loses one senior in Kelly Hough. His goal in the off-season is for the Lady Falcons to become stronger and get in better shape. He said it took half of the season for them to be in the kind of shape in which they needed to be. Another goal is to become more confident shooters.
"I feel like we made a lot of strides from the first of the year," Holland said. "They were very undisciplined and didn’t see the need to win and expected to lose. After KIPP, they were saying we can do this and can get better. They realized if they worked hard they could compete and want to do that in the off-season."
Holland returns several guards and will be looking for post players. He is anxious to see what happens after the Department of Education approved allowing Academics Plus to have more students. Also, the Falcons move to a different conference next year which Holland thinks won’t be as tough.
"We were one game from making the regionals," Holland said. "Our goal next year is to make the regional tournament."