With the win over Nelson County in the last regular season game on Feb. 16, the Lady Bears set a new season win record for the second time this season, with 23 total wins. This comes just after the team set a new record of 22 wins the previous week.
Last season, the Lady Bears set the new win record with 21 wins. The line-up changed this year from last, but the one thing that remained consistent over the last two record-making seasons is the leadership from the 2022-23 Kentucky Association of Basketball Coaches’ Region 8 Coach of the Year, John Howie.
The Spencer Magnet caught up with the coach to discuss the successful 23-7 regular season.
Q. You were just named Region 8 coach of the year, how does that make you feel?
A. I am very appreciative of the award, and thank the coaches who voted for me. However, I believe this is a team award. You don’t win these awards unless you have success on the court, and it has taken all of our players and coaches to accomplish this.
Q. You have had the two best seasons in Lady Bears history two years in a row. How would you describe your coaching style?
A. I have never been asked about my coaching style before. For me, I really want us to be prepared (both players and coaches). I think it is mine and my coaches’ jobs to prepare our girls to make them the most comfortable on the court. This comes from spending a lot of time in the off-season working on individual growth, and a lot of time during the season on scouting opponents, and preparing for each team we play. I also think it is important to have strong relationships with your players. It helps you understand them, and they understand you on the court... especially in pressure situations. It is very important to me that my players know our relationship is much greater, and will last longer than basketball. I hope to be a help to them, and also be a support system for all of them after their basketball careers end.
Q. Daveigh and Ella were both named to the all-region team. What do you think the main reasons are that they have been so successful this year?
A. I am very proud of both Daveigh and Ella for being selected to the all-region team, and I thank the coaches who voted for them. The biggest question about our team coming into the season was where our scoring was going to come from. These two girls have combined for 55% of our offense. Even through the double teams, and different defenses we have faced to stop both of them, they still find a way. It has been exciting to see, and I have enjoyed coaching not only those two, but my whole team. Those two will be the first to tell you that they wouldn’t be as successful if their teammates didn’t do their “role” at a high level as well. Skyler has handled the point guard role most of the season, and has led this team on the court, and has been able to get the ball to these two into some really good scoring opportunities. Bailey and Kayla have been our biggest outside threats for most of the season, which has allowed Daveigh and Ella to work on the inside. So, it takes our team working together as one, for us to be able to accomplish what we have throughout this regular season.
Q. With only one returning senior this season, your younger players have stepped up in an impressive way. How did they overcome what some would call a big hurdle with their inexperience?
A. I think the leadership of Daveigh, Skyler, and Ella has been the biggest key to our underclassmen’s success. Their encouragement and patience have been truly impressive. Sometimes it is easy for upperclassmen to get frustrated with those that aren’t comfortable on the court. But ours have not. They have been there for their teammates every step of the way. They help them during our practices, and stay positive with them during the games.
Q. What is your approach going into district play? Making any changes?
A. Well, we have had a fantastic and rememberable regular season, but that part of the season is over. Once district play starts, everyone is at the same place. If we lose the first game, our season is over. We have to take one game at a time. My focus right now is on Shelby County. We were successful against them during the season, but that doesn’t help us on Wednesday. We have to be prepared and ready for them.
Regarding our team, or changes, not really. We need to get healthy. We have a couple of players recovering from some injuries that this extra time between games will be a big help to them. We also need to focus on us, and be prepared for what any team can try against us. I think a strength of our team is we can beat you a bunch of different ways. We just have to be ready, and execute when we are put in these different situations.
“I want to thank our community for their support. Our team has talked many times about how special we have it here in Spencer County. We are excited for the postseason, and hope to make you proud, and be a good representative of our county and school,” Howie added.
As mentioned above, Lady Bears Senior Daveigh Reichenbach and Junior Ella Brown were chosen to be on the 8th Region Team.
Reichenbach would end up leading the team in total points for the regular season, with 493, scoring in the double-digits in 25 out of 30 games, with her highest number of points in one game being 33.
Brown would end up being the second highest scoring Lady Bear, with 415 total points for the regular season, scoring in the double-digits in in 22 out of 30 games, with her highest number of points in one game being 24, which she accomplished twice.