Halfway To a Thousand

Cooper Bass, Content Editor

500 down, 500 more to go. 

Lady chargers have a lot to celebrate this week with Coach Chris Stallings earning his 500th win as Girls Basketball coach as well as going undefeated into their four-game season.

The girls have had a great week and got to top it off by celebrating Head Coach Stallings’ 500th in-season win. Securing wins against both Butler and Southwestern. 

“I truly feel I will know the time to step away but I know it’s not now, not yet. There is still more to do.” Stallings said. Over the 36 years that he has been coaching and the 23 of those years serving as head coach, there have been some make-or-break moments that have led him to be in the position he is in today. He credits part of this to his incredible support system surrounding him. He tries to learn from everyone he works with whether it be parents and players to even administrators. His most considerable support however is his wife of 31 years. “I have been blessed with a supportive wife,” Stallings said. “We actually met at a Bullitt East basketball game. Through the years my health has been pretty good plus I have been able to include both my children which has all helped with my longevity.”

As for what’s next, he wants to continue the school’s trend of state championships. “I truly feel the Covid shutdown year, we were playing the best of any team in the state that week and on the cusp of winning a title, then last year we were so close,” Stallings said. 

Two years ago, the lady chargers were on track to win state but unfortunately got quickly stopped when covid hit America, sending them home. Then again last season they made it to the championship game but lost to Mercy. Viewers have been skeptical about how they are going to do this year with many of the team’s stars graduating last year. But the team seems to be confident that they can handle it. “As a team, I feel like everyone doubted us going into the season because of how many we lost. But we are doing very well with the adjustment,” junior Anna Rodgers said.

One of the most respected leaders on the team, Lily Reid, who has been playing with Stallings for five years, has felt the change of pace this season. “We definitely have had to speed up the game a lot,” Reid said. “Running sets that, first, help us to drive the ball and shoot outside shots more instead of looking to post the ball, that’s for sure.” The team lost a lot of height when Gracie Merkle graduated. In response, they have had to speed up the game a lot to compensate. “I definitely think we are headed in the right direction, getting better every day,” senior Logan Ortega said. “I think we are doing better at moving the ball and being patient in our sets,” Ortega said.

Overall, team morale is high, even with the difficulties of players being benched due to health reasons. “Our last game went well. It was a big win and we have been missing people all year from injury and sickness. So being able to pick up for those people is crucial,” Rodgers said. Junior, Jada Hughes who played a big part in the team’s success last year, can’t play right now because of physical injuries. She’s a versatile player with a lot of speed. Luckily this year’s varsity has enough speed to make up for her absence.

On the 10th, the girls beat Butler 55-47. “I’m not gonna lie, first quarter I did not play very great, but my team really made up for that and especially Anna Rodgers, she contributed a lot. But we all had some big free throws at the end of the game,” Reid said. It was a close game the whole time, staying around a consistent eight-point lead. Throughout the game some of the most notable players had been Reid, Ortega, and Rodgers, they made a lot of big shots and held down the game at the free-throw line. 

Their next game was against Southwestern where they extended their winning streak to four games with the final score being 77-62. Similar to the Butler game, they played fast and small using their size to their advantage. But this team had some mismatches that worked well in our favor.

In addition to being a big win for the girls, it was also the game that capped off Stallings’ 500th. “Coaching the Lady Chargers has always been my dream. In the past I have been approached to become an administrator along with other job offers but, for me personally, this is what I have always wanted to do, it just means more representing Mount Washington, our program, and Bullitt East,” Stallings said.