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PREP BASKETBALL: 2009 Herald preview -- Lady Eagles continue turnaround

Photo by Paul Dehner

Photo by Paul Dehner

ALBANY - The 2006-07 GISA Class AAA Final Four campaign is one Sherwood Christian's senior girls remember well. But the next season, when the program was left with so little experience it decided not to compete in the region tournament, is one they would rather forget.

After being asked if some players might have a chip on their shoulder two years later because of that, senior guard Katie Foster had a quick answer.

"I think some of the ones who have been through the program and been in the Final Four one year and to go what we went through the next, I think some of us from then do believe that," Foster said.

Since then, Sherwood has been trying to accomplish two things at once: building a foundation for future success and coaching players to be competitive right now.

"This year we added a B-team, so we have four teams," said coach Rebecca Fyock, whose team now competes in AA for the second year in a row. "We have a junior pro team, middle-school B-team and also the varsity. The B-team will help us, big time."

As for this year's team, which finished 7-15 last season, Fyock is optimistic about improvement.

"We're going to be able to get it inside and the post should be able to produce for us," said Fyock, who enters her second season with the Lady Eagles.

The post presence Fyock is looking for will come from 6-foot-1 junior, Princess Williams.

"She has definitely improved," Fyock said. "In fact, everybody has improved. They have put in a lot of work this summer."

Fyock, however, doesn't think the team's success is totally dependent on Williams.

"I can't give you one just player we can depend on at this time," Fyock said. "In both our victories (against Randolph Southern to start the season) and in practice, we have paired the players in different ways and we've come out even every time. Right now? My best weapon is (all) 12 (of my girls)."

As the Lady Eagles continue to build from two seasons ago, Fyock's philosophy is rather simple: back to the basics.

"As far as getting on schedule, we are going to compete with everybody this year," she said. "I feel like we've been working very hard on building the fundamentals and solid groundwork so we can build a solid team. Starting out with the two wins, it's been great. It's been a great first couple of weeks of practice and everybody's been pushing themselves."

Foster, who starts at point guard for the Eagles, will be another key to Sherwood's success.

"She's very aggressive and has improved with her driving abilities and has worked hard this summer on driving to the basket and on her shot," Fyock said. "She's very confident this year shooting the ball."

Confidence is what Fyock's trying to instill in her team as a whole.

"Our theme for the program this year is reaping what you sow," Fyock said.

Yet, only time will tell how fast that translates into the Lady Eagles becoming a winning program again.