Last season, Wall was just another parent in the bleachers. This year, he is on the sideline calling the shots for the young Lady Stallions.
“I got to be one of the screaming fans. This year they asked me to coach, and I stepped in,” Wall said. “I’m loving it. I get to spend time with my daughter, plus I love these girls. They’re hard workers and they want to get better, which makes it easy to coach … I’m having a blast. It’s fun.”
To call the Lady Stallions young this season might be an understatement. The roster has plenty of eighth and ninth-graders filling it out, as well as a couple sophomores and juniors. But most noticeably — no seniors.
“This is definitely a growing season for us. We are playing in a high school league with a lot of eighth and ninth-graders as the majority of the team. [We have] a few 10th and 11th, but we’re a very young team,” Wall said.
It’s been a little bit of a process of building from the ground up for Wall, who has seen the work benefit the girls from the offseason into the early part of the 2012-13 campaign.
“Over the last eight weeks, we’ve gotten so much better. We’re improving and trying to figure out the game and what it looks like. That’s the biggest challenge for us, trying to get basketball-savvy, so we can think ahead of passes instead of thinking after passes,” Wall said. “We’ve got a long ways to go, but we’re climbing that hill.”
Not only have the improvements been noticed in practices, but they are also seeing it on the scoreboard. While they might not be wins, the Lady Stallions have played Colonial Hills twice this season. The first time resulted in a 20-plus-point loss, the second time around it was just a seven-point defeat.
“I’m trying to keep it positive, because this is a building year. We want to win games and we’re trying to win games, but this is a building year. There’s a bright future here at Holy Ground. There might be some bumps in the road now because we’re playing kids that have been around longer, but they’re playing hard,” Wall said.
Any coach will say that nothing beats experience, and that’s what Holy Ground is looking to gain this season knowing the wins will come.
The Lady Stallions won’t strut out a roster with one player making everything on the court happen. What they will do is have a deep bench that can get everyone involved in the game.
“That’s what has been cool about this team, we don’t have one girl that really carries this team. We don’t have a superstar, which I’m OK with. I don’t have to build the team around one player. We have a few girls that are stepping up and taking leadership roles and encouraging other girls to do the same thing,” Wall said.
“Abby [Hulsey] is our point guard, and she is kind of our team leader. She’s a spark plug and she doesn’t settle for doing things halfway. She challenges them and makes them dig a little deeper. We have a few girls like that.”
The Region 1-A North schedule is a little bit of an unknown for Wall this season. Early in the season in a league where rosters can change at the semester break, the HG coach has to be ready for anything.
“That’s the challenge for me. I got to see some of the teams last year, but I don’t know a whole lot about them. I’m learning with them what they look like. There’s a big learning curve, because I’m not sure what it all looks like yet,” Wall said.
When Wall thinks about how good this team can be this year and in the future, he uses the phrase, “The sky is the limit.” And that might not be just a metaphor. The Lady Stallions boast some serious inside height. With a 6-foot-plus eighth-grader and a pair of ninth-graders near the 6-foot range, Holy Ground already towers over some teams it faces.
Now it is using that height to its advantage.
“We’re young, but we already have a lot more height than a lot of teams we play. We’ve got a good inside game that’s developing and we’ve got some shooters. Once our post players learn to use that height to their advantage, we’re going to be strong. We’ve got eighth-graders that are taller than 11th and 12th grade girls we’re seeing,” Wall said.
And as the Lady Stallions prepare for tonight’s 6 p.m. region tilt at North Georgia Christian, expect them to be better than they were the game before — and ready to get even better in the next one.
“We’re getting better every game. I’m excited to see them grow and how we’re going to develop,” Wall said.