By Gene Stanley/Sports Correspondent
For probably the first time this century, West End High can brag about having a girls basketball coach.
That’s no slight to anyone, mind you.
It’s just that for awhile, every coach hired to coach the Lady Patriots left after one season.
Enter Amy Springer. Enter stability and growth.
Entering her third season at West End, Springer has not only stayed, she has planted the seeds for some good girls basketball.
“One of the biggest keys is staying together,” she said. “We’re really getting used to each other.”
And as people will still point out, it wasn’t long ago that the Patriots were a small school power.
All of that adds up to a good future, as this year’s team is comprised of basically the same girls as played last year. And that squad has four freshmen, four sophomores and two juniors.
The only negative at the start of the season is that Morgan Cleveland, last year’s top scorer and rebounder, may or may not be able to play in the opener. She tore a meniscus and is still waiting for doctor’s approval to get back in.
“She hasn’t touched a basketball, so we’re probably going to have a slow start,” Springer said.
The other four starters – Payton Butts, Courtney Oliver, Brittany Self and Kaitlyn Waldrop – will be playing together for only two years now, since West End suspended the program two years ago. They did play junior high together but didn’t have a team in the 2010-11 season.
“These girls have been together two years now, with me and we’ve made a lot of progress,” Springer said. “Every time a program loses continuity by changing coaches, the team suffers, especially if a totally new type of play is brought in. Hopefully, we’re starting to get going in the right direction.”