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Q&A with Lady Tigers head coach Eric Herrick on end of 2021 season, future of program
Eric Herrick photo
Eric Herrick addresses his team during the North Forsyth Raiders' state semifinal game against Westlake on March 2, 2019 at Buford City Arena. - photo by Ben Hendren - photo by Ben Hendren

The Lady Tigers basketball team lost 55-51 to North Hall on Thursday, Feb. 11, in overtime, ending their season. Lady Tigers head coach Eric Herrick spoke with the Dawson County News on Monday morning about how the season went and the future of the program

Jacob Smith: What was your favorite moment of the season? 

Eric Herrick: “Maddie’s 1,000th point was pretty cool. She made a three on a hard shot. It was cool to see how all of her teammates reacted. to it.”

With COVID-19 and quarantines, just to finish this season was an accomplishment. How do you view this season? 

“I’m very proud of them. It was a weird season, the most difficult season I’ve ever seen. We rarely had the whole team at practice and then we had to take two weeks off in the middle of the season when I had COVID. They’re a very resilient bunch of individuals. Even though we didn’t accomplish our goal of making it to the state tournament, we still grew and learned more about basketball.”

On Thursday, the team came out of the timeout in the first quarter on a 15-0 run. What did you communicate to the team during that timeout? 

“We just needed to be more active defensively. Anticipate passes to get turnovers for fast break opportunities. Once we started doing that, our defense really started to become our offense.”

Maddie made the three-pointer at the end of the game to send the game to overtime. What has it been like watching her take control of the team this season? 

“Her becoming a leader has been a work in progress. She’s not a natural ‘rah rah’ vocal leader but instead leads by example on the court. We challenged her to get out of comfort zone and she did that. She really had a great year.”

You guys sent the game to overtime and fought hard all the way till the end. How did you feel about their effort throughout Thursday’s game?

“I thought our effort was pretty good. From every person on our team, we all have to get better. I have to get better, they have to get better individually at the sport of basketball. It starts now. We have to get better for next season starting now.” 

What do you feel like was the deciding factor in Thursday’s outcome? 

“Just missed opportunities. We couldn’t capitalize on our fast break opportunities. We had a defensive breakdown on the last shot and couldn’t handle the ball when getting pressured on offense. We really needed to convert fast break opportunities but then we didn’t make a couple free throws at the end either.”

What was communicated to the team after the game in the locker room? 

“I thought we played really good basketball down the stretch. We have a chance to be a really good basketball team. Outside of our three seniors, we’re a young team with limited varsity experience.”

What do you hope the team took away from the game? 

“That with hard work, we can put together a really good basketball team. We need a good summer and a normal offseason to be able to improve as a team and our culture. I hope they realize we can be really good but it’s gonna take some hard work.” 

For your three seniors, what would be your final word of wisdom?

“Hopefully they understand that everything in life that’s worth having is gonna take hard work. You’ll have to overcome adversity to achieve your goals. Those three girls have a really good head on their shoulders though. I’m not sure there’s much I could say at this point. All three of them have a pretty bright future ahead of them. 

That being said, you have a lot of players returning next season. What does the future of Lady Tigers basketball look like?

“It’s very bright. We need an offseason to realize exactly where we’re at and give us an opportunity to grow. We’re a bunch of young kids and have some really great size in our freshman class. We’re still figuring out our guards being able to handle the basketball and handle pressure. Where we really struggled was handling the basketball this season. We’re gonna play the best teams we can this summer. We’re only gonna play teams who press us.”