Sylvan Hills head basketball coach Shelly Davis still has a bad taste in her mouth.
That bad taste stems from, not only a blowout loss to Huntsville in the first round of the state tournament, but how her Lady Bears played in the opening minutes.
"I’ve never been a part of something like that," Davis said after their first round loss.
That "something" was Huntsville’s 28-0 opening run.
That loss drove home what Davis is up against, and she has rolled up her sleeves and has committed to a total program-rebuilding project — and she’s starting with the foundation of youth.
For the first time since her early days as head coach at Morrilton, Davis is getting into coaching at the junior high level and developing the culture of her program there.
"We have to do it that way," Davis said. "Start from the ground up."
Davis has suffered some attrition in the offseason dismissing a pair of players for missing offseason work.
"I kicked a girl off in my first year at Morrilton for not tucking her shirt in," Davis said. "She was my best player, and I think we won three games that year."
Davis built the Lady Devil Dogs into a state champion and coached one of the best girls’ players to come out of Arkansas in Shekinna Stricklen, who became a star for Pat Summitt at Tennessee, and now plays for the WNBA’s Seattle Storm. She has averaged eight points per game in her 35 game career.
The road isn’t easy. Davis is unsure of her summer schedule but is assured that she will put a basketball team on the floor this winter.
"We may play some freshmen," Davis said, "but I will have a team out there."
Davis may have to start from the ground up, but no one can argue with her past results of building a strong girls’ basketball program.