With the basketball season in full-swing, the Lady Mavericks are putting in their time on the court, working hard on skills and drills. Head Coach Warren Taylor said he has high hopes for the girls this year.
Taylor is in his second year of coaching the Mavs. A former player, he competed in varsity high school basketball in Idaho. Then, his team traveled to the state tournament all four years, and won the state title there twice.
This year, Norwood’s team has five juniors and one senior (Quinn Shaw). The team has six freshmen and sophomores, combined.
“So it’s about half and half,” Taylor said. “The upperclassmen are where they need to be for their skills and knowledge — we do have a very strong team this year. We do have six underclassmen that need some work to get to where they need to be, but they are practicing and stepping into the shoes and getting to be where they need to with skills and knowledge and basketball IQ.”
Taylor said defense is the girls’ greatest strength. He said the team’s offense is “a little weak,” but that with practice, he felt the girls would greatly improve.
He said overall, he describes the group as “well-rounded.”
The girls are in the gym every evening afterschool, Monday through Friday, honing their skills. Taylor said the season should allow for them to “really get it together” as a team. He said the end of the season should demonstrate how far they’ve come. He said he expects the Mavs to have a competitive post-season.
“We have some really great shooters inside and out, and the younger ones who aren’t quite there yet are improving on a daily basis. We are seeing improvement,” he said.
So far, the Lady Mav’s record is 0-5. The girls have faced Paonia, Hotchkiss, Montrose JV, Northwest (Shiprock, NM) and Dove Creek.
Still, Taylor said the girls have been playing bigger schools and are showing what they are capable of.
“They’ve stayed with these schools very well,” he said.
Lili Parrino, a junior, said this year was a building year for Norwood.
“But I believe in every single girl,” she said. “We have many obstacles to face, but we will conquer it. We don’t have as many girls as last year, but that just means we have to work harder. As long as we have the heart and passion, we will go far.”
Parrino said she especially appreciated the coaching staff at Norwood. She said she’s learning lessons on and off the court that go beyond the sport of basketball.
Taylor said coaching the Mavericks was for him fulfilling.
He also said he fully supports women’s sports in general. He said he believes they’re mostly underrated, and that the girls’ programs aren’t pushed as much as their male counterparts’ programs are. Taylor said he enjoys working with the Norwood girls, and really wants to help them succeed.
“It feels good to be coaching, and it’s something I love to do,” he said.