When the Senior High's girls basketball team had a mandatory COVID-19 quarantine of 21 days, many of their competitors continued practicing and playing, growing stronger each game. A delayed start became a promising season for the Lady Tygers. The team’s effort and leadership led to Coach JeVar Hudgens being named All-Ohio co-Coach of the Year of the Ohio Cardinal Conference (OCC).
“It’s an honor,” said Hudgens. “There’s nothing like these awards where other people recognize what you’ve been doing and the work that you put in.”
Hudgens, who also serves as a paraprofessional with the district, has held his coaching position with the girls basketball program for the last two years while also serving as an assistant coach for the boys team for the last seven.
The Lady Tygers played their first game on December 28, 2020, then immediately went to practice for four straight days due to the lost time. That was followed by playing five games in a seven-day span, then five games in nine days. The first five games were losses. But with quarantine in their rearview (they did not experience another loss for the rest of the season), they started finding their rhythm.
“It was tough. But once we started going, things began to run smoothly,” Hudgens said. He added that many of his players this year on a roster of 13 were underclassmen. Finding their confidence and believing they could play competitively was a key to this season’s success.
This year’s team also won a sectional championship - the Lady Tygers’ first in eleven years. Hudgens says he’s excited about the future of the team. He notes that many of his players will return next year, adding to the depth of experience. The team finished with a conference record of 8-4, and an overall record of 11-12. Two of Senior High’s players, freshman Kiersten Bradley and sophomore Kiyah Wentz were selected as All-OCC First Team.