It may not be cause for a parade down State Street, but the long-suffering Brookland-Cayce girls basketball team finally has cause for celebration.
The Bearcats ended a 55-game losing streak and a 27-game region slide with a 51-49 Region 5-3A win on Friday against Midland Valley. Brookland-Cayce followed with a 37-27 victory on Tuesday against Swansea, marking the first back-to-back wins by the program since February, 2010.
“Sometimes it’s not pretty, but as coaches, we could see the girls were gaining confidence day by day and practice by practice,” said first-year coach Megan Assey.
“Coming out of the Christmas break, I had the feeling that we were going to sneak up on somebody that wasn’t expecting it.”
Sophomore point guard Bryana Preston led the way in the win at Midland Valley with 23 points, and sophomore Asia Fields set the pace against Swansea with 14 points.
“The biggest challenge we’ve had as coaches has been getting the girls to stop accepting losing as a matter of course,” Assey said. “It’s been a step-by-step process, and it was tough getting the message across when we still didn’t have any wins to show for the all the hard work. Hopefully, we’ve turned a corner and we can keep this going forward.
The Bearcats are 2-2 in the region and in the state playoff hunt heading into Friday’s game at first-place Airport, which that closes out the first half of region play.
“After Tuesday’s game, I told the girls that we have a card in the mix now, and you could see their eyes light up,” Assey said. “We have a lot to shoot for over the last six games of the season. If we can get to the playoffs, it will be a huge accomplishment. Ultimately, we want a team that has the mind set that it can compete every time it steps on the floor. My goal is to hang some championship banners up.”
The Bearcats are young with two upperclassmen — senior Ronnie Edwards, who leads the team in rebounding, and junior Ish Leapart, who leads in scoring (6.7 ppg.). Sophomores Preston (5.6 ppg.) and Megan Probert are the team captains and leaders. Fields is averaging 5.9 points and 3.7 rebounds.
Assey, who played collegiate ball at UNC-Greensboro and served stints as an assistant at Clemson and Charleston Southern, was well aware of the situation she signed on at B-C.
“I knew the expectations were extremely low, but I’m the type of person who runs 110 percent at a challenge when it is put in front of me,” she said. “I honestly believe that if the girls are committed and have passion for basketball, the sky is the limit here.”