Addition by subtraction key to Vikings success
If you ask Anwar Gladden, he'll tell you that this year is about addition by subtraction. Not subtraction of players, but the subtraction of distraction.
"I think we're more focused than last year's team," the South Shore coach said. "You get that sense from early on that this team is more focused. Last year's team, as talented as it was, dealt with a lot of distractions throughout the course of the year. And I think this group of seniors don't want to go through that experience again."
Only a few months removed from going undefeated in the regular season and losing in the PSAL Class AA title game, the Lady Vikings are looking at a roster loaded with seniors.
Gone are the talents of Jasmine Odom and St. Bonaventure commit Tatiana Wilson, but in their place will be a solid group of girls who have already proven they can compete.
"The seniors will step up this year," Gladden said. "Janice Winter committed to VCU and I'm looking for some big things from her. Fannisha Price committed to Marshall and we're also going to look for her to lead the team as well. We have two other seniors in the mix too, Shelby Powell and Radasha Hope. The leadership on the team is excellent this season with those four seniors at the helm."
Gladden couldn't commit to one player being star because of his strong belief in the Vikings parity on the court. Although the 6-foot Winter and the 6-foot-2 Price will certainly have their moments.
"Our bench is going to be good this year. Not to single anyone out, I just think the core of the girls who come off the bench will do really well. They may just be the best in the league," Gladden said. "If I had to identify a dark horse on the team, it would have to be be my bench as a group."
The Lady Vikings, who have been foiled by Murry Bergtraum in the playoffs for the last three seasons, hope that this year the increased leadership will make the difference.
"It's a long season and as the year goes on, you have to continue to get better and better," Gladden said. "And you have to correct your mistakes and your errors by continuing to improve in all areas."