32 Minutes of Chaos

copyright photo of sophomore guard Gabby Gaines (out for several games now) by  Eric Taylor 1st String Magazine

stats provided by Max Preps

by Eric Gant and Stephen Vance

It’s the shortest in height, but also the scrappiest team in the OAL (Oakland Athletic League).

“Lady Warriors’ basketball is 32 minutes of chaos,” says head coach Dennis Flannery.

Despite its current slide, the McClymonds girls’ varsity basketball team “has a bunch of confidence,” says Flannery, a veteran coach with 26 years of experience who suffered a heart attack four weeks ago, but is back. “Our young players just need to step up.”

Its tallest player is only 5-foot-11, with 6-foot-plus players from rival teams towering over her. The other players are even shorter, much shorter.

Off to a promising pre-season start, the Lady Warriors (14-4) hit a snag, losing its two last games to #1 Skyline and Castlemont.  The team’s slide in standing to 4th place in the OAL is due mainly to the loss of two key players, sophomore guard Gabby Gaines (who hasn’t played since Jan. 6 and averaged 17.3 points a game)  and injured senior Therica McCord, as well as the absence of  Flannery at five key games. He was cleared to coach a few weeks ago.

In the first 14 games, Mack averaged 60.3 points a game. In the last four games, it averaged 39.5 points a game.

“It’s a challenge,” adds Flannery. “This team (if everyone is healthy and plays) could go deep into the playoffs.”  This team surpasses last year’s team in speed and shooting ability, he says.

The Lady Warriors  made sectional playoffs for four years in a row –quite a feat given McClymonds’ size of under 250 students. In the last two years, the team’s GPA was 3,1 of which Flannery is most proud.

The players don’t consider themselves Warriors or Lady Warriors, says Flannery. In fact, they end the game, shouting, “We’re family.”

“Coaching at Mack is like I had died and gone to heaven,” Flannery told macksmack in an interview in early December.  Just stay healthy, coach.

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