The girls varsity basketball team at Homewood-Flossmoor High School has kicked off the season with an outstanding 8-1 record.
Some games, like the 50-49 win over Simeon High of Chicago, have been close, while others, including the 72-34 win over Stagg High, were easy victories. H-F will play a 26-game regular season.
Coach Anthony Smith said the team’s one loss came at the hands of Benet Academy, 41-36.
“We took it down to the wire and were up with 30 seconds left, but we couldn’t close the deal,” he said. The team quickly bounced back.
“Our girls just keep on improving,” Smith said. “We’re ready to go. We’re excited.”
The varsity team managed to hold its own in the 2018-19 season despite serious knee injuries. Four H-F players had to sit out the season. Smith was able to move a few girls from the sophomore team into varsity to cover positions that were left open.
“That team reached its full potential winning 20 games, and we came in second in conference and won the regional championship,” Smith said. “We went all the way to the sectionals finals and lost by one point to the team that ended up taking second place in state. That was a pretty good season for all the adversity we went through,” the coach said.
Sarah Doane and Imani Mitchell, two of last season’s injured players, return to the team. Joining them are seniors Tia Morgan and Naya Haymon.
“We’re looking for them to leave their mark,” Smith said.
Junior Grace Hall had a phenomenal season after being moved up to help fill the roster last year. Smith said Hall averaged 18 points and nine rebounds a game.
“She had a great year and a great summer, and she’s doing awesome things for us,” the coach said. Hall can play any position, but he’s got her positioned as a guard.
Hall is being scouted already, and Smith said she has several college offers.
Other team members are Isis Fitch, Alana Hall, Alyssa Latham, Lorraine Martin, Deja Murphy, Laila Rogers, Alyshea Smith and manager Kyndall Ryan.
This is Smith’s seventh year coaching at H-F. Under his direction, the girls varsity team has come close to top honors.
“I think this is the group to lead us over that hump. We made it to fourth in state and a few super sectionals. Hopefully we’re going to achieve great things with this group,” Smith said.
“If we can have all 12 kids healthy, there’s no reason why we can’t be the best because H-F is the place where we look to set the tone, set the benchmark for student athletes. We have a great wealth of talent here.”
Working with Smith are assistant coaches Evan Bercot and Walter Collins.
It doesn’t take much to motivate the girls because “H-F is a community that strives for excellence. They are motivated to be the best. We know we’ve got to work hard.”
Several players have been on the IHSA All-Academic Team, and Smith said the overall team GPA is 3.0.
He sees a bright future for the girls basketball program.
“Our numbers are great. We have A and B teams, a sophomore and a varsity team with 12 kids on each team,” he added.