Maybe it is better Academics Plus experienced adversity now rather than later in the season. After leading by as many as 15 points, the Falcons suffered a 38-30 loss at KIPP:Delta last Friday.
While Coach Stephanie Wortham isn’t making excuse she saw her team lose its intensity after senior Rhianna Mooney fouled out. That coupled with the atmosphere really affected Academics Plus (6-11, 4-7).
“We were up by 15, and after Rhianna fouled out, we shut down,” Wortham said. “We let the atmosphere get to us.”
Boys’ Coach John Harrison said the fans said some very, very inappropriate things to the coaches and players. That hostility was something the Falcons couldn’t shake off. Mooney fouled out in the third quarter.
“It was an unbelievable, horrible experience,” Wortham said. “Rhianna fouled out for silly things. The girls were really upset with the way she was treated. I told them we have to keep playing, and that they know how to play.”
Before Mooney fouled out, she led the Falcons with 13 points. Sophomore Lisa Goodwin added 11 points, and Wortham was impressed with her performance.
“When Rhianna fouled out, she took over and handled the ball and called the plays,” Wortham said. “Kellie Hough played wonderful defense.”
Since Academics Plus hadn’t played since Dec. 14, the Falcons started off slow. But Wortham said they came alive after the first quarter. What she wants her girls to take from the game is that their attitudes are a big part of the game.
“We have to be mentally prepared for any environment,” she said. “We can’t let our attitudes get us down. We have to work on keeping our attitudes up and play well.”
Since North Little Rock Lisa Academy doesn’t have a girls’ team, the Falcons are without a contest this week. The boys played Lisa Academy last night. Wortham said her girls were visibly disappointed they won’t play again until Tuesday. This week will be spent on shooting, sprinting and making practice a game-like situation with lots of scrimmaging.
“I think if we work really hard, we can win the games we need to win to get where we want to be,” Wortham said. “We can still realize it if we work hard.”