By Harrison Tarr
For the Observer
The 2021-22 season is off to an emphatic start for the Lee-Scott Academy girls basketball program and head coach Corye Ivatt.
The Warriors opened their year with back-to-back blowout victories over Wiregrass and Hooper Academy and now turn their attention to building upon what Ivatt believes to be a special group of talent.
Ivatt said that, regardless of talent, Lee-Scott’s journey to a successful year begins with the development of a common mindset.
“I have been telling the girls that if they want to win championships, we have to have a championship mentality,” Ivatt said. “We can’t just have that mentality when we want to or when it’s convenient. We have to have a championship mentality all the time and in everything that we do.”
While the coach wants her group to buy into her philosophy, she also chooses to provide them with the opportunity to develop their own identity. This year’s group has chosen to label themselves as a team who will not waver in the face of adversity.
“I ask the girls to give me words or phrases that they want to identify our team with,” Ivatt said. “The most common wording this season has been resilient and to never quit. So, our goal is to be resilient all the time; whether in practice, film study or games. We are going to make sure we leave it all out there and give our best effort.”
According to the Warrior’s head coach, adhering to the principles of resiliency will likely prove beneficial to the squad as it prepares to embark on one of the most challenging roads of region competition in recent memory.
“This season will shape up to be one of those most competitive girls basketball seasons in our league in a while,” Ivatt said. “Obviously, we want to keep getting better every single day. I’m a firm believer that you either get better or you get worse; you can’t stay the same. So, as long as we keep getting better every single day, I think we have a great opportunity to have an exciting season.”
The challenge presented by the talent around the league combined with Ivatt’s ability to retain her entire team from 2020 has influenced the team’s strategy in terms of development and season preparation.
“Our preparation this year has been a lot different since I didn’t graduate any seniors last year,” Ivatt said. “No matter what, you always have to start at the beginning when the season starts no matter how much work you’ve done in the offseason or preseason. Everybody has to get used to each other and learn how to play together. We are slowly, but surely, getting there.”
After not graduating any of her athletes in 2020, Ivatt looks to her trio of seniors for leadership as the Warriors carry on in 2021.
“I have three seniors, but one is out with an injury,” Ivatt said. “Sterling Tucker and Emma Frances Zellner have potential to have unbelievable seasons. They have both worked very hard in the offseason to improve their individual game so I can’t wait to watch that unfold throughout the season.”
From an off-the-court perspective, Ivatt hopes to see a strong showing from the surrounding community to help her squad achieve greatness.
“We always love having, and we need, all the support that we can get,” Ivatt said. “We love our student section to be full and loud; we love our parents section to be loud and supportive. We always want people to be excited about coming to watch Lee-Scott basketball play.”
The Warriors look to continue on their hot streak when they play host to Edgewood Academy on Monday, Nov. 29. Tipoff between the squads is set for 4 p.m. CST.