The McEachern Lady Indians have been known to play a national schedule most of the past ten years under head coach Phyllis Arthur. 2016-17 has been no different however the national schedule has produced more learning curve losses than wins save a trip to Texas.
The Lady Indians went 4-1 with a runner-up finish in the Sandra Meadows Classic in Duncanville, TX, their best mark in a national event this season.
McEachern spent much of late November and December on the road from Maryland to Washington D.C and to New York and Texas.
Their overall record reflects 6 losses, five to national (non-Georgia) opponents and an in-state loss to nationally-ranked Norcross in the season opener for them (it was Norcross’ third game of the season).
“I told the team our mentally must be tough because we have a tough next few days.They had school, a home game, travel, a game, a day off, a game, travel, then school and a game and we went 3-1 and picked up two region wins I think because they know ..we give them some down and rest time. In New York we lost the first one due to poor prep by time. When we got settled it was 6:00 and we played at 8:30 basically when we got there it was time to play, we make no excuses we got beat.
When the dust settles McEachern will have played only six home games. Five region 3-7A games and one non-region game (Greater Atlanta Christian).
“Everybody wants home and home and we don’t care about playing at home. Most teams we want to play will only play us in a tournament or showcase setting, so we go play’, Arthur said.
Arthur in each championship postgame interview has always acknowledged playing a national schedule and remains firm to continuing to do so.
“We want to play the best and will go play the best”, Arthur said.
Said formula has produced four state titles in the last five seasons, all in Georgia’s highest classification at the time. The Lady Indians finished 6-5 in national games and won in every state they played in but did not win in two games played in Washington D.C.
“Playing a tough schedule is what we do. We played five games in seven days, we are mentally tough that’s the only way we can survive. I gave them Wednesday off to rest”.
The Hillgrove victory proved to be expensive for McEachern. In addition to looking and playing tired in a 14-point win, the Lady Indians lost senior Symone Oliver for the season with a broken ankle. Oliver (3.4ppg, 3.5rpg) played in 19 games this season while being an emotional anchor as a senior that only knows winning championships in her high school career.
McEachern enters the weekend 15-6 overall mark with Chanel Wilson (unsigned), Que Morrison (Georgia) and Lyndsey Whilby (Texas Tech) leading the way and will host Marietta tonight. They will close with road trips to Kennesaw Mountain and North Paulding before finishing the regular season at home against Hillgrove
If the past is any guide, once the Lady Indians complete their national schedule, the end has resulted in hoisting the state championship trophy, a goal that lives daily within the team.