By Nick Wilk
The Hammond girls basketball team finished the season 16-5 progressing into one of the most feared teams in Howard county this past season, in large part due to their new Head coach. Coach Jones has come in and changed the culture of the program focusing on effective practices and strong team chemistry. Senior Hannah Chambers speaks highly of her new coach saying “From the day I first met our new coach I was confident in reaching the goals we’ve always wanted to reach. I knew she was serious and I knew she was trying to build a program. I appreciate how dedicated and hard working she is.” Senior forward Diya Daya adds “Our new coach has brought a completely different dynamic to our team. She has given us a different mindset and has helped us gain more confidence in ourselves and each other.” This mindset change has translated directly to the court as they finished the season 16-5 among the best in the county. They took on Middletown in the class 2A regional semi finals in a back and forth thriller that came down to the wire with Middletown eventually prevailing 43-38.
The team’s leading scorer was Junior guard Nia Green who averaged 14.2 points per game. She also lead the team in rebounds with 9.2 a game and assists with 3.3 per game. This outstanding play put her in the top 5 of all three of those categories. She said “I’ve learned to have more patience with everything, to really think about the right plays to make. Rushing things don’t ever have a good outcome.”
As the wins kept coming in so did the rising confidence of the team with Chambers saying “when we’re all playing our best, communicating, giving 100% effort 100% of the time I think we can compete with every single team in the county.” After losing two games early on to Glenelg and Howard the Bears caught fire winning their next 8 and 11 of their next 12.
One of the highlights of the year was their 47-26 win against Atholton. When asked about the game Nia Green said “ We just had a team game. We came together and everyone pulled their weight.” Diya Daya added “it was a team win and it was great to beat them even though they expected to win.”
The success has been heard around the county with Nia Green being nominated for Howard County player of the month. They have tried different things at practice to take the pressure off themselves with Hannah Chambers saying her favorite moment of the season was “our yoga practice, although it’s not completely basketball related it was really nice to recenter with the team and have that sort of rehab together. We had a very kind instructor that was also an athlete at Hammond who reminded us that we’re more than what we perform.”
The change of leadership in the program has led to immediate success and a team that played together and won a lot of games down the stretch of this season. The Lady Bears season was a massive success and their future looks bright as they look to make a 2A state title push with most of their strong core returning.