Oconee County head coach Jeanette Looney spent eight years coaching at Prince Avenue Christian School. She’s been at Oconee County for eight years and has been head coach of the Lady Warriors in each of the last four years.
Wednesday afternoon at the George Walton Academy Holiday Classic was her first time coaching against Prince Avenue Christian and her former counterpart Richard Ricketts, and the Lady Warriors used a 12-3 run in the third quarter to beat the Lady Wolverines 44-22.
“It is familiar because Richard and I do a lot of the same things. You can see the same offenses, the same in-bound plays. We just call them different things. We coached together. I was his JV boys’ coach one year and I coached eight years at Prince,” Looney said. “It was kind of fun joking around like tell me your game plan and I’ll tell you mine type thing. We know each other really well. It was fun. It’s not a major rivalry or anything. The girls all know each other. They play travel ball together so they are friends.
“Prince did a nice job. They are physical and in their league, that pays off tremendously. They are going to do well in their league.”
While at Prince Avenue Christian, Looney coached against Oconee once, and it was in her first year at PACS.
“It was our second year in public school and it was pretty awful. I think we scored 10 points, it was like 80-10,” Looney said. “The skill level between a larger school and a smaller school is so close now. It’s usually just the number of kids that you have. I am glad to play them. It could have gone the other way very easily.”
Ricketts said him and Looney talked before the game and shared memories such as the team’s region championship.
“That was cool remembering all of that. It was a good bunch of girls. We had a good time,” Ricketts said. “She knows what I like to do and I know what she likes to do. She is a sweet lady. I love her. I love her daughters. It’s a little weird (coaching against her).
“I don’t appreciate her whooping me like that today. It wasn’t very nice,” Ricketts said with a laugh.
The Lady Wolverines led 5-3 after the first quarter but the Lady Warriors took a 12-9 lead into halftime.
The Lady Warriors outscored the Lady Wolverines 32-13 in the second half.
“I was worried. We had the late game last night and we came out and played at 11 this morning. Prince Avenue has done a good job and played some good teams tough. They have a good record. I knew we had to come out and hustle. Our game is play good defense, hustle and hope our offense comes around by the second half. That is what happened,” Looney said. “Offensively, we seem to be a second-half team. Trying to play 10, 11 girls and get a flow is sometimes hard but it seemed like it helped us out to be able to sub four or five at a time. Both groups did a nice job.”
The Lady Warriors had 12 players score. Sara English had eight points to lead the Lady Warriors. Carmen Pavao had seven points. Sybille Foucart had five points. Ansley Hart and Sutton Pope both had four points. Julia Peroni and Kaitlyn Corral both had three points. Kate McCurley, Akira Haynes, Emma Deal, LaNya Scott and Chyna Smith all had two points.
“We executed our offense much better in the second half,” Looney said. “I felt like we rebounded fairly well, especially on the defensive end. We have some girls that go hard and pull some offensive boards. We are not the most athletic but we get in there and fight. I am proud of them.”
The Lady Warriors improved to 6-6 overall with the win. They also beat George Walton 42-36 on Tuesday. They close out the holiday tournament Thursday against Athens Christian.
The Lady Wolverines dropped to 8-3 overall with the loss. Madison Britt had seven points. Ansley Hall had five points. Hays Simmons, Mackenzie Case and Caroline Hill all had three points. Janie Henderson had one point.
“They hustled and we didn’t,” Ricketts said. “We got a million good shots in the first half and didn’t make them. They let them affect defense, rebounding and other parts of the game, and you can’t do that. Oconee wanted it worse than we did.”
In the first game of the tournament on Tuesday, the Lady Wolverines beat Lakeside-Evans 53-43. They close the tournament Thursday against Social Circle. Ricketts said he is using the holiday tournament as a way for his team to get better for the rest of the season.
“Hopefully there will be something we can draw back on,” Ricketts said.