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Giving 110%

Head basketball coach preps freshmen team

The Lady Apaches basketball team dunked into their season with three wins  and one loss so far, led by Head Coach Trenia Tillis-Hoard and assistant coaches Alecia Smith and Jasmine Johnson. Tillis-Hoard gives the inside scoop on what there is to look forward to this season.

A TJC basketball player practices shooting during warm up. Basketball season began Nov. 1. Photo by Garrison Nichols

Q: Do you feel prepared now that you’re already in the season or ready to take it on?

A: “I don’t think coaches ever feel prepared. It’s going to be an interesting season. We are already down due to injuries and all that stuff. We are already down to just seven players, so it’s going to make an interesting year for us.”

Q: What are some of the goals for the season?

A: “Pretty much take it one game at a time. None of these kids were with the team that won the nationals, so they’re having to defend the title, but they’re not any of the reigning players. So it’s a matter of keeping our heads above water. We’re all freshmen playing with a lot of adversity and just kind of making it through adversity.”

Q: Being a coach, how do you approach the team in general or when things come up? 

A: “Well, it’s just about creating a culture of winning. Getting kids to buy into success. Laying a foundation and a standard for what we’re going to be off the court and that’s going to go on the court. We’re always trying to outwork people; we’re trying to out-hustle. We always want to be the hardest working team on the court, and I think with having such a young team is all about growth for this year. As long as I see them get better today, I’m gonna be better with them than worrying about what’s going to happen in the future.”

Q: For a team member, what is one priority you want to instill in them? 

A: “Maximum effort. In anything you do, you give maximum effort. I don’t care if that is in your classrooms. I don’t quite care if that’s, you know, with your religious entity or spirituality, in your life, in your relationships with your parents. If you give maximum effort and you give them 110%, you’re going to reap the benefits and that’s the same thing that goes on a court. That team might be better than you, but on any given Sunday, hard work beats talent when talent won’t work.”

Kiana Bennet, shooting guard, sets up the play as point guard Anahlynn Murray drives down the court. As of Nov. 15 the TJC women’s basketball team has three wins and one loss. Photo by Garrison Nichols.

Q: The “if you don’t pass, you don’t play” standard, does that take place here?

A: “Pretty much. I mean you have to have a certain GPA and if you go below that GPA, one semester will not completely kill you unless you just don’t go to class or do anything, but you got to pass. I mean, as student athletes, and that, you know, it’s about academics. If you don’t get a degree from TJC, you don’t get to move on anyway. So, these kids are pouring into basketball, but they’re also getting their educational foundation.”

Q: If somebody’s willing to join the team, what would that look like?

A: “We’re at the point we’re so desperate; we’ve been begging people all over campus, if they would, any girls that had played college, who hadn’t played high school basketball that thought they could play at our level. We’ve had a couple come try out that either by conditioning, mentality, or mindset, they weren’t ready for this level, but I do feel like there’s got to be some players. TJC has too many students not for us to not find something. I mean, we’re desperate with only seven bodies. We could use whatever we can get right now.”

Q: What could they do to join or reach out?

A: “Just call our office. They can email us or they can just call the women’s basketball office or really they can just stop by.”

The Tyler Junior College women’s basketball team competed against Southwest Mississippi Community College losing 63 to 57 on Nov 3. Then, the team competed against Coahoma Community College with TJC winning 74 to 53. That same day, TJC won 102 to 50 against Shorter College. Most recently, a competition against TJC versus North American University resulted in a win with TJC’s final score of 93 to 39 on Nov 12.

For more information about TJC’s women’s basketball team, visit their website at apacheathletics.com. For other information, call Tillis-Hoard at 903-510-2316
or Smith at 903-510-2022.

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