By Will McClure
It was just a month ago when the Stamford Lady Bulldogs stepped onto the basketball court for the first time this season. After a tough home opener against Seymour followed by back and forth wins, the Lady Bulldogs are coming off of back-to-back victories, with the most recent being the exciting come-from-behind 52-50 victory against Clyde last Tuesday evening. Now, as the Lady Bulldogs prepare for the Stamford Shootout Classic ahead of their first district game against Hamlin, Lady Bulldog Head Coach Jim Eubank was able to sit down to talk about the season thus far and give a preview on the rest of the Lady Bulldogs' season.
Even though he and the team felt like they should have had more wins in the close contests, Coach Eubank felt like the season has gone well so far, thanks to very competitive matchups and an ability to keep fighting back. Eubank said that he felt really good about where the Lady Bulldogs are right now, where they have developed a rapport with each other on the court and the ability to understand their offense.
"The kind of offense we run is kind of difficult at times because there's an awful lot of motion and an awful lot having to react to what you see in front of you," Eubank said. "But I feel like they've really come around this year. Actually, you could even see this back in the summertime. They were really beginning to play off of each other and understand what we were trying to do."
When asked about the change from the previous season to this season, Eubank said that they haven't really changed much in regards to how they run plays, but have added a few things since last year. He said that it all comes down to repetition and allowing the team to adapt to the system to the point where it becomes automatic to them.
When discussing the first month of the season, Eubank says that the game plan, no matter what sport it is, always comes back to the basics when trying to adapt and learn from one game to the next. He said that by focusing on the little things, the bigger issues will take care of themselves. He noted that some of the problems thus far, specifically in the games where the Lady Bulldogs came up short in close contests, have been throwing the ball away too much, not doing a good job of blocking out and giving up too many second chance opportunities for the opposing team. Eubank said that those issues are things that always can be built upon and emphasized. He went on to say that they try to spend a little bit of time during each practice to improve on those skills.
"On a basketball court it truly takes a team and the team has to all be skilled. They have to have certain skills that they have to do," Eubank said.
Looking to the first games of district play, Eubank said that Stamford's district is a quality girls' basketball district, saying that a team cannot afford to have a bad night in a very competitive district. However, Eubank believed that the Lady Bulldogs are at the point where they can believe in themselves that they deserve to be in contention, allowing them to continue to believe in themselves and their abilities as the season wears on.
When discussing the upcoming Stamford Shootout Classic, Eubank said while he hopes that they can win the whole thing, the tournament will also help accomplish a few things. He said that it will allow the Lady Bulldogs to see a lot of different types of teams in a short time span with different play styles. It would also allow them to work on things that are needed and allow them to polish their skills before district starts the next week and hopefully give them the competitive edge needed after playing five games in three days.
With the tournament and district play on the horizon, it is clear that the Lady Bulldogs are ready for the rest of the season ahead of them with the Bulldog Nation firmly behind them. Coach Eubank said that the support of the parents and fans has been amazing and has provided a good atmosphere for the girls as they take the court. Eubank went on to say that he encourages all Stamford Bulldog fans to come out and watch the Lady Bulldogs play, saying that the games are fun, exciting and entertaining. For some of the Lady Bulldogs, this is also their last year to walk onto the court before graduating in the spring.
"We talked a lot about what their legacy is going to be," Eubank said. "They came into high school with a lot of expectations and we're still trying to reach some of those. We talked a lot about the legacy that they want to leave behind, how they want to be remembered."
From the first game of the season to looking ahead to district play, it is clear that the Lady Bulldogs have the heart and determination to build to their legacy. They have a tough district ahead of them, but with the coaches, parents and fans behind them, it can be assured that there will be a Bulldog Nation behind them every step of the way. Good luck to the Lady Bulldogs and make sure that you come out and support them this season!