The season looks bright for the Lady Hornets. Off to a fantastic start in the 2014-15 season with a 5-0 record, Head Coach Marcia Foster has the team focused on one thing: improving. “It’s still early,” said Foster, “we just want to keep improving. Defensively, we could be so much better. Offensively, we’re fortunate to have a few people who can score, and I need to keep putting them in positions to get good opportunities.”
The ability to score from different positions is something that came up frequently when talking to, or watching this team, and that is a facet that they look to exploit whenever possible.
Team captain Noelle Cobb added to the sentiment, “We have a scoring threat at each position. Guards, wings, bigs, it’s real fun to play when we’re hitting.”
Although scoring is an integral part of any winning season, the Lady Hornets understand that they still have a lot of work to do.
When asked what the team will have to do to win a championship this year, captain Yana Pollard laughed and said, “A lot. We kind of have to do everything. Basketball is a game of mistakes Coach always says. We have to do everything we can to not make those mistakes, and take advantage when other people make the mistakes.” In addition, Coach Foster understands that they can’t keep relying on the hot shooting of their starters. “As the young ones and everybody continue to improve, we’re gonna be better and better. Right now, we’re relying on six or seven players to carry us.”
The only way that they’ll get to where they want to is by playing to make each other better. Fortunately, that also doesn’t seem to be an issue for this squad.
“When we’re on the court, we’re really good at finding each other,” said Pollard, “We know each other’s skills really well, so when we’re in a really good rhythm, getting ahead, it’s usually because we’re making each other successful, and that’s really good. It’s not like one person wants to be the star and everyone works around them. We all work around each other.”
Despite their recent success, Coach Foster continues to preach attention to detail, doing the little things, and focusing on fundamentals. “Winning is a byproduct of doing the little things everyday,” said Foster.
Winning is something that the Lady Hornets will relish. Last season, Fullerton fell to a 7-20 record after a rough start to their season. A handful of women on this season’s team experienced those losses, one of them being Cobb who said, “We know what it feels like to lose, and now we know what it feels like to win. We want to keep that winning going.”
The Lady Hornets will look to continue their streak this Friday, December 5th vs. Barstow as part of the Chaffey College Tournament.
With a fresh season, comes fresh expectations for the Fullerton Hornets. With last season’s rough results in the rear-view mirror, the 2014-15 roster looks to turn things around. This season’s roster looks significantly different than last. With only two returning sophomores, Khris Nelson, and Ryan Magee, the fresh batch of ballers will try to erase the memories of last season’s 7-20 record.
With the fresh faces come consequences as well. “A lot of freshmen are trying to learn how the system is, and trying to learn each other,” said Head Coach Andre Smith. “There’s a feeling out process.”
That process has taken its toll on the Hornets record this season, with the team currently sitting at 1-7 on the season. Fortunately, heart is something no one questions about this young team. Every player at the gym said that it would be essential to turning the season around.
“We have to play tougher. Got to man up,” said forward Ryan Francis.
Guard Jaylen Morgan added that “everyone has to want to win and buy in to the system, and not just do their own thing.”
It was apparent that the team has had discussions about toughness and playing through each whistle.
“You can’t play this game without heart; at any level,” said Coach Smith. “You have to grow up, and you’ve got to play with a little passion, and I think they’re learning how to do that,” said Smith. “These kids play hard. They get after it. They compete. It’s just unfortunate that our injuries are happening now.”
Injuries are a sore topic with Hornet ball players right now as they’ve lost some key big men on the team, and that really hasn’t helped the rough growing pains this season.
Nelson has been leading the way for the Hornets, shooting a team high 41% field goal percentage, and leading the team in minutes played per game. “Guard play has been a strength for us,” said Nelson. “With a few of our big men going down, the guards have stepped up.”
With the season off to a shaky start, the Hornets are trying to learn what they can from every loss, even if it’s lessons applicable off of the court.
“Competing is about being passionate about what you do,” said Coach Smith. Whether it’s in the classroom or whether it’s on that court, you’ve got to compete both ways. That world out there is not gonna allow you to do anything but compete. We’ve got to make sure that we’re teaching them life skills, and getting things done. We’re almost there.”
The Hornets’ season rolls on Wednesday, December 10th vs. American University as part of the Riverside City College Tournament.