Lindale girls soar to No. 9 state ranking
But in the manner of any successful coach, Walters can recite reasons his team shouldn’t have lost a game to this point.
“There’s no reason we shouldn’t be undefeated,’’ he said. “We lost some we’ve should have won. But we’re getting better week by week.’’
So much so that the Lady Eagles are ranked as the No. 9 team in the Class 4A state rankings as compiled by the Texas Girls Coaches Association.
Recently, the Lady Eagles defeated Canton and Rains to improve to 11-3 (going into Tuesday, Dec. 18’s game with Kaufman). Cracking the top 10 in the state, Walters believes, is a product of not just having a good team but also defeating some quality competition.
“When those (TGCA rankings) came out, we had just beaten Winnsboro and Edgewood, both of which are ranked,’’ he said.
And it helps to put some good players on the floor as well.
“We have a lot of talent on this team..a lot of talent,’’ he said. “Some things were new to them and they’ve done a good job of getting used to the way we do things.
“They’ve done a good job of rebounding from the losses.’’
Walters, a Winnsboro native, is no stranger to basketball success. He piloted Llano to the state tournament once, and took the Lady Yellowjackets to the regional tournament four times.
His overall coaching record is 236-75, which includes a 17-7 mark in the playoffs.
“I’m glad to be back in East Texas,’’ he said when asked about his new job. “Our family has always been here, so we are happy to be closer to everyone. It was quite a drive from West Texas to East Texas, so that part is much better.’’
When Walters looks down his bench he doesn’t always fit the players into starters and reserve roles. The way he looks at it is that he’s got a dozen options which could add up to some strategic advantages by the time the game has reached the fourth period.
“Sure, we’ve players who are starters, but I’m going make sure that I can give each our players at least two or three minutes a game,’’ he said. “This way they can go as hard as they can for two or three minutes and our role players get valuable time that will be necessary when the crunch time in the playoffs comes around.’’
So far this method has paid off with a lofty state ranking and a lot of wins before District 16-4A play begins.
“We’ve got a well-balanced team,’’ he said. “We’ve got a lot of scorers and some have hit some very big shots for us.’’
As far as 16-4A play is concerned, Walters noted that a coach’s poll taken before the season had John Tyler in the No. 1 spot, followed by the Lady Eagles then Jacksonville.
“There’s going to be some good competition in this district, that’s for sure,’’ he said.
Walters also said he is hoping to see the Lindale High School gym full of fans for the next home game and all thereafter.
“It really helps our kids to look out and see a whole lot of people there to support them,’’ he said.