Raleigh, NC – After the Pamilco County Lady Hurricanes basketball team lost to Mount Airy Granite Bears in the NCHSAA 1A State Basketball Championship game, coach April Rose spoke to the assembled media.
NCHSAA: Coach if you’ll make an opening statement, then they’ll ask you some questions. You can start when you’re ready.
April Rose: Here we are again. Different year, different two wonderful young ladies beside me. Same outcome. I’m proud, I can’t say that I’m not. It was a really good team we played and obviously wanted the outcome to be a lot different. I thought we were a little better prepared and ended up not getting the job done.
Reporter: Coach, when you looked at them this week preparing for the game, did you feel like you had a shot of at least making it a little closer than last year?
April Rose: That was the plan. We thought if we kind of opened the floor up a little more, create a little bit differently, move off-ball screens versus on-ball screens, and tried to get the ball inside, we would yeah, give them a little run for their money at least, like some man to man.
Reporter: Last year you got hit with that avalanche in the first quarter and then now today it was more like a snowball than an avalanche. It just kept getting out of control.
April Rose: It’s not like you Jordan, you can turn anything positive, and I appreciate you.
Reporter: Thank you coach I try, but …
Reporter: Literally a snowball, and it was really smart.
Reporter: Yeah but 17 to two, us counting the third quarter, that’s really what put the nail in you guys. You were 19 point game at half time, you could get hot and come back from that, but that third quarter just was disaster for you’ all. Anything, any idea what happened there?
April Rose: We tried to adjust again in the locker room, on the defensive end. I didn’t feel like we were closing out and we couldn’t stay on anybody to lock them down. They’re just very disciplined in their passing game. Super patient and we couldn’t recover. I feel like we had about four or five layups, I don’t know, I can’t remember … Four or five layups that went in and came out in that third quarter. I’m not necessarily saying that would have been a momentum but it would have given us a little more confidence and a little more boost, as far as a few more points on the board.
Reporter: How tough is it to balance the disappointment, but also the pride of this team getting back to this point, two consecutive years?
April Rose: That’s a great question. I’m a pretty positive person and I want to thrive on that. I am proud. We lost three starters from last year’s team. We were a pretty good team last year as well, and we pretty much ran through the East this year. I knew Mount Airy was tough, but did I think that we were going to come back and storm through the East and meet them again? Maybe not 100%, maybe about 30 or 40%. I’m not taking anything away from my kids, I had to kind of reload, and refocus, and recenter this program, this team, and drive them to be where they could be for us to get back here. It’s a process and you have to trust the process.
April Rose: Three years ago we were trying to get over the hump of getting to the regional finals, and win a regional final to get ourselves into the championship game. Now we’re looking to figure out how to win a title. I’m not going to stop figuring that out. I’m going to keep pushing, I love the game, and I love these kids. We’re from Small Town America and that’s what we’re going to do.
Reporter: For post season you had contributions all across the board from everybody, but to always have that constant point, score, and production from Jainaya, MVP Tonight, what can you say about her, her season this year and how impressive she was. [Inaudible 00:04:25] and the Jainaya, my apologies.
April Rose: Actually a good game. We talked about this in the locker room a little bit ago about we are so defensive minded, and we need to work more on the offense and get some more people involved. It’s really hard to do with girls that are not used to taking that role, but that’s something that we are going to start focusing on when they allow us to get back at it. Working on our foots[inaudible 00:04:56] and getting some other people to score.
Reporter: Coach, for as good as they are on offense at Mount Airy, they put four girls on the floor that can drive or shoot from outside at any point, which is really hard to guard. Defensively what did they do that seems to get you guys out of sync?
April Rose: They suffocate us, the just suffocated us. They could not, we couldn’t get any … We worked, we practiced against the boys, and we worked on moving the ball, and moving away from the ball, and running, Jainaya create and dish. We thought we had a good plan in that but I think they knew that Jainaya was a main score and they kept somebody in the middle. That kind of through off our game as far as trying to get the ball inside Heidi or Mirachell, in the lob or in the post. Then they just collapse, and their disciplined.
Reporter: Coach you obviously never gave up today, but when you get down 25 or 30 points in the third and fourth quarter, is there a certain sense of resignation about a State Championship game, that’s not going to happen today?
April Rose: I think the coach and the player in me is like, one basket at a time. Go for it, let’s just leave it all out on the floor. Then the realistic part of my brain is like, huh, here we go again.
Reporter: You started good, got the first three baskets, game up 4-0, then they just ran off 11 and rode. You called a time out, we’re you thinking at that point, here we go again?
April Rose: I was thinking, we’d better get organized or here we go again. Yeah, we came out and I was like, okay we want to keep it close. We wanted to make an effort to keep it closer to say, we’re here for a reason. It just didn’t happen our way.
Reporter: You had talked … Oh, I’m sorry.
Reporter: You’re good, go ahead.
Reporter: You were talking last year about the Conference, the Northwest 1A Conference that Mount Airy is in, and this is 13 straight years the Conference has won. What’s it going to take for the East to even have a chance at this Conference? It’s starting to look like next year is going good again for the Conference.
April Rose: That’s a great question. I say that to my assistant coach. I say, “What is the West doing that the East is not doing?” I’m not sure if it’s a combination of the opportunities with the travel ball and kids play specific sports whereas our girls play three sports or four sports. I don’t know if it’s the strength and the conditioning part. I know that what we’re doing is definitely working in the East. I’m not sure what it’s going to take but we’ve got to find an answer so the East can have a shot to win. Especially if we’re going to keep going up against East traditional public schools, which makes me more happy than playing a charter school, to be honest. We’ll figure it out.
Reporter: [Inaudible 00:07:54] for both of you’ all and covering you all year, knowing you two are both pretty reserved, calm girls, you don’t get too high, too low very often. Last year there were a lot of tears after this loss. This year you guys seemed not okay with it, but just more even. Just tell me what’s going you right now compared to last year? What is different about it?
Jainaya: I just told them, “We just have to stay positive.” Not many teams can do this like twice in a row.
Reporter: Right, coming back.
Jainaya: I’m proud of us for both of that, [crosstalk 00:08:33], well that how I feel.
Reporter: No, it’s okay, just playing it see-through.
Jainaya: It’s a sense pride of being here. We know it’s our last year, and basically when we know it’s our last year, this is going to be our last game, we know to leave it all on the court. We know that we shouldn’t have any regrets when we come off the court. The only thing that’s going through our heads is that we’re going to miss everybody in end.
Jainaya: Yeah, coach talked about it, there’s no shame in being the second best team in the State at all. You want to win obviously, but you guys have accomplished so much in your careers, you’re always going to Pamlico County high school and see the runner-up plaques in the trophy case and your pictures in the gym that you hung. Me and you talked about how during this run you’ve played like you don’t want to lose.
Reporter: You’ve helped get the girls to this point. Coach, just talk about last year you had a great group of seniors with Chaniya and Myeshia and Alexis. Talk about these two as well. I know how close you get to your players.
April Rose: Yeah, that’s the most important thing. This is family by choice. This is why we’re successful, because we fight like mother and daughter and sisters and sisters. We argue, but we always come back to one main goal, and that’s we’ve got each other back, and we have one thing that we want to do. We want to be successful not just on the court but in the classroom, and in the community, and after school as well. It’s hard, I hate it for them, because I hate to see them hurt, I wish I could do more. I wish I could give them the world. They’re going to be successful no matter what they do because they’ve been part of something that they can be proud of, and that has been successful.
April Rose: At least they understand what hard work and dedication means, because they do. These two, they work harder … Well they all do. They work harder than anybody out there. I’m not that easy to play for sometimes, and it’s tough. I applaud the effort for six and seven months and in the summertime when they have to deal with me, and staying on them. I’m proud of them and I’m proud of my kids, and there’s no love lost with us ever, and there never will be. We can always count on each other, and maybe one day they’ll be taking care of me sometimes.
Reporter: Thanks coach. Thanks ladies.
April Rose: Yes.
Reporter: Thanks ladies.