Barely two weeks ago, Angelina College Lady Roadrunner head coach Byron Coleman was discussing his injury-ravaged team and its focus on simply maintaining its position the conference standings.
On Wednesday, Coleman was talking up his groups three-game winning streak – a spree that included two road wins and an upset of the No. 10 team in the nation. Considering the number of walking wounded on the roster, the Lady ‘Runners have managed to sneak up on some good teams as they push toward tournament play in March.
Coleman mentioned the way some of his players are beginning to do what they do best on the floor. Case in point: Sophomore Britney Thompson, who has struggled somewhat with long-distance shooting, knocked down eight three pointers in Saturday’s 88-65 win at Bossier Parish Community College. Thompson is but one of the players finding a groove as the regular season winds down to its conclusion.
“The situation with Britney is she just hasn’t shot well, so she hasn’t had that confidence all year,” Coleman said. “We’ve been encouraging her to shoot more instead of taking fewer shots, and she had a good game at Bossier Parish. We’re thrilled for her, and hopefully she can keep that going.”
Other players have shown early flashes of ability, but now seem able to showcase those skills on a more consistent basis. Tai Porchia scored 12 points and gathered eight rebounds in Saturday’s win, and Mycah McDonald has averaged 20.6 points per game over her last three games.
“Tai didn’t feel she played well the first time we played at Tyler, so I think she took it upon herself to improve and play harder,” Coleman said. “Probably the most consistent piece we have right now is Mycah. If she continues to score like that, she makes us even harder to beat with her speed and athleticism.”
Running the offense is unsung hero Simran Mayfield, whose numbers don’t reflect her impact from the point guard position. For a player with her hands on the ball for most of a game, Mayfield has been extremely efficient in limiting turnovers and making the most of each possession.
“Point guards sometimes get the glory, but Simran is handling the ball, and her assist-to-turnover ratio is good,” Coleman said. “She gets us into our sets, and having a leader like her at the point can’t help but make a team better.”
The Lady Roadrunners (15-10, 7-7) on Wednesday will host Jacksonville College, a team to which the Lady ‘Runners lost by a single bucket (62-60) on Jan. 24 in Jacksonville. AC held a 13-point lead at one point in that contest, but missed out on a win Coleman thought his team should have gotten.
“(Head coach) Savannah Carter does a great job with her team,” Coleman said. “You watch them on film, and you can’t help but be impressed with some of things they do. They play hard, so we’re really going to have to defend way better.
“I think our kids are looking for a little payback.”
Game time on Wednesday is 6:30 p.m. at Shands Gymnasium. Live streaming will be available at angelinaathletics.com.
Admission to the game is free.
Sports Information Director Gary Stallard, who also serves as a Liberal Arts Instructor, begins his eleventh season with Angelina College. Following a career as a U.S. Marine, Stallard completed his bachelor’s degree at Stephen F. Austin University, where he majored in English and Journalism. For more than 16 years, he has worked as a sports writer/columnist/photographer for the Lufkin Daily News; he continues to contribute free-lance articles on occasion. Stallard has won several awards for writing, including the Golden Hoops Award for basketball writing in 2003, Regional Sports Writer of the Year in 2004, and the Texas Press Association’s first-place award for column writing in 2007 and in 2014. He has also done basketball, football and baseball radio and live streaming play-by- play and color commentary for an ESPN affiliate. Currently Stallard serves as play-by-play broadcaster for AC basketball, baseball and softball games.
Prior to arriving at Angelina College, Stallard taught English at Lufkin High School for four years. He currently teaches Developmental Writing classes at AC. He and his wife Susan live in Lufkin.
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