Girls basketball after the state title

Sophomore point guard, Grace Oken, battles for a loose ball against Basha on November 29th. Oken tracked the ball down and the Pumas toppled the Bears, 68-31. Part of the Pumas success this season has been the way they have prepared in the weight room in the off-season; as of press time, PHS was 6-0

With a 6-1 record for the season, the varsity girls’ basketball team is back supporting an intense weight training routine and they are intent on making it to the state championship this year. With a grand total of 6 returning starters, 5 of which are sophomores, the team is working on building up strength and endurance, as well as improving their defense.

Third-year head coach Andrew Curtis and athletic strength and conditioning Coach Joelyn Boone supervise the weight room while the girls lift. Coach Boone explained the girls’ weights schedule, by saying, “They went a little heavier as they were getting up to the season and they went into more- a lot of fitness has been added in.”

The team’s heavy lifting and transition to agility has produced improvements already. Sophomore point guard Tatyanna Clayburne commented, “Since the beginning of last year we’ve just gotten stronger and faster.”

Strength is an important factor, especially for the girls’ team.

Coach Boone explained this, saying that “The strength as it relates to the game… for females it really really gives them the edge.”

One player’s strength stood out. Simone Simmons, power forward, can power clean 150 lbs.

“Simmons is very strong; she’s worked really hard in the weight room all four years here.” Boone commented.

As a senior, Simmons’ outlined her personal goals for the season. “Definitely focus on my defensive end, offense will come as defense is.”

The team’s strength is a factor not only to their performance in games, but their practices are impacted as well. Clayburne noted this, saying that “It [the team’s strength] translates to the gym with our ability to finish more and to push each other.”

Despite the girls’ drive in the weight room, they try to conserve stamina. Boone explained that “They can save their energy for practice and games but they still keep up with their lifting all through the season.” According to their coaches, the team has backed off into a more strength maintenance mindset to achieve their goals.

And what exactly are their goals? When asked, both Clayburne and sophomore shooting guard Madison Conner replied enthusiastically at the same time: “State!”

The team’s coach agrees with the players. “This team is playoff bound,” Boone commented. “The girls get strong, they’re fit, they have really respectable strength.”

Simmons finished off her interview with a similar response. “We’re gonna win state, so, mark my words!”

The girls have dominated in all their games so far. Catch them in action next on the 21st.