Toward the beginning of the 2011-12 girls basketball season, Lower Richland coach Debbie Stroman figured that would be as close to a rebuilding year as the Diamond Hornets would need.
Lower Richland walked off the court after the Class 3A semifinals that season disappointed with the loss but confident the next season would be better.
Now, undefeated and sitting atop Region 4-3A, the retooled Diamond Hornets are right where they thought they would be.
“It feels good, especially after we beat Dreher, because we’re letting everybody know that LR never changed. We’re still here,” junior post player Breshay Johnson said.
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Stroman said the team, led by Johnson and senior point Jasmine Richardson, has grown tremendously from last season despite adding several young players to a rotating lineup.
“We weren’t ready for a lot of challenges that came at the end of last season, but we’ve made a lot of progress and this year, I’ve made sure that we were going to be able to play the kind of game we like to play when we need to,” Stroman said.
The Diamond Hornets are averaging 57 points, often getting scoring from 10 players. Young players such as sophomore Ashley Irving and eighth-grader Kameron Roach have added an emotional spark to the squad, while Richardson leads the team with a quiet poise.
Stroman has focused on making her players multidimensional and, so far, it has given them some flexibility.
“Our lineup has not really been consistent. We change it a lot so the talent that they have, we can put them in and not miss a beat,” Stroman said.
For Richardson, that has paid off.
“I don’t really have to do a lot, I just have to get everybody involved,” she said. “We’ve got a lot of people who are willing to do the work.”
With four games remaining before the start of the playoffs, the Diamond Hornets have a few tweaks left to make, but Stroman said, “We’re right on track.”
“Whatever we accomplish this year, I’m very thankful that they have put in the effort and time this season,” she said. “I’m very proud of them.”