ORLANDO — A day after what was easily their worst performance of the season, the Olympia girls basketball team had its best practice.
The Titans (11-3) fell to Jones on Dec. 11, 61-21. For a team that had won seven consecutive games going into the game against the Tigers, the 40-point loss, coupled with Olympia’s lowest scoring output of the season, was quite a blow.
Fortunately for head coach Robert Carmody, the girls on his team responded.
“The Jones game really sort of grounded them to realize you can’t play bad basketball and expect to win,” Carmody said. “The girls learned that they can’t just show up against anybody with an average effort and expect to win by double-digits. We had the best practice of the year the next day.”
Since that loss, Olympia won its next two games by a combined 42 points — a 73-53 win over Evans and a 61-39 win over Ocoee — and is going strong as it asserts itself among the area’s elite teams.
When the first-year coach was asked what the secret is to this turnaround season for a team that won just 10 games a year ago, Carmody was to the point.
“I’ve got 10 really good players,” Carmody said. “I’ve got 10 good players that I trust. … I’ve got a lot of versatility (on the roster), too.”
Just in the past few wins for the Titans, the team has had strong outings from an assortment of players including Taylor Hair (20 points in the win over Ocoee), Trenisha Johnson (14 points against Evans) and Natalie France (13 points against Evans).
Hair is a go-to scorer of sorts for Olympia while France and teammate Mackenzie Loos have been giving the Titans great energy and effort all season.
Notable wins for Olympia include a hard-fought 58-55 win against rival West Orange on Dec. 9 and Bishop Moore on Nov. 29. Still, Carmody acknowledges need for improvement in certain areas.
“We’re working on chemistry, still, though,” Carmody said. “It’s ugly at times.”
The Titans will compete in the Florida Prospects Christmas Invitational from Dec. 29 through Dec. 31. After that, upon returning from the holiday break, Olympia will resume play on Jan. 5 with a busy week, taking on Timber Creek that day before facing Apopka on Jan. 6 and West Orange again on Jan. 8.
The Titans will also play in the Think Pink Classic at University High School on Dec. 17.
For the time being, Olympia’s girls are having fun and it would seem wins are begetting more wins. Carmody says the atmosphere on his team is that of 10 best friends — friends who don’t always agree, but who play hard and are having fun so far this winter.
“It’s certainly fun when they win,” Carmody said.