After the game against Atlanta, the North Lamar girls basketball coach Chris Arledge spoke to Panther Press about the game:
PP - "How did you feel about the game?"
CA - "We didn't come out ready to play with the intensity and the passion we normally play with. That's my fault, so I have to correct that."
PP - "Turnovers seem to be an achilles heel. Is that something you just have to learn to live with this far into the season?"
CA - Really, up to the last two games, we had reached our goals turnover-wise. Even at LE, I believe we only had nine. Or 11 and PG we only had nine. The last two games, there are times when we have those mental lapses. Those are the things we have to correct. That's something we will work on in practice with our execution. We just have to correct that."
PP - "Defensively, the second and fourth quarters you really shut [Atlanta] down. Was that something you were doing more or was it a lack of execution on thier part? Or a little bit of both?"
CA - "You know, the second and fourth quarters was what we talked about after the game. That's the intensity, the aggressiveness defensively we have to play with, but it needs to be for 32 minutes. Not eight minutes, not 16 minutes, but the whole 32 minutes. That's something we can control: the effort that we give. We can control that. If there's a loose ball, am I willing to dive on it for my teammate? So, we have to get those things corrected also."
PP - Kylie Halstead finished with 18 points. Twelve of those came from the free throw line. How encouraging is it for you to see a player like that, who may struggle early with their shot, but they continue to be aggressive and get to the free throw line? Not only that but knocking them down when she got there as well.
CA - "Yeah, that's a strength of hers. She's good with her dribble-drives, attacking from the free throw line and attacking baseline. She has been good at that. It is an encouraging sign to see her getting back to the line more often. That's one of our goals. We all want to attack the basket. We do want to get to the free throw line. [Kylie] did do a good job of that tonight."
PP - "You're team got off to a slow start tonight. Is it good for you to have moments like this late in the season? You win the game, but you have let down moments like that. This way you can still show the team that you're not where you need to be and you're not perfect yet?"
CA - "As long as they are willing to listen and focus on that, yes. I think they do understand that from here on out, it doesn't matter who we play. We're going to get their best effort and best shot every night. The last two nights, they've seen that. That is something we go into practice and let's say we're having a good practice. Then if we go into that lull, we can talk about, 'Hey this is what happened in the game.' We can correct that, and it should lead to the execution during games. The main thing is, from here on out, we have to have that perfect effort for 32 minutes. No matter what the score is after the game, we can be proud of ourselves if we can commit to that."
PP - "You're team has played really well all season, and they're starting to get the recognition they deserve by moving into the state rankings this week. Is there any concern that the accolades will get to the players' heads and cause them to have a let down game?"
CA - "Well there's always a concern. Honestly, it's good recognition for our program. I will say that, but I could care less about rankings. Our girls understand that. I don't think they really care about rankings, but yes that is something that could possibly take your focus away. If we start thinking we're better than other teams, then we will lose that respect. That's when you do get beat. You do get upset. We have to go into every game from here on out respecting our opponent and going into that game trying to crush them. That shows them we do respect you enough to get up and play for you. I do see a lack of focus or concentration when you start concentrating on things that are outside our control. A district championship is outside our control. Rankings are outside our control. When you do start focusing on that, in my opinion, you can lose focus and things like that happen."