A perfect season may be the most difficult accomplishment for any team in sports. But that’s what the Quince Orchard junior varsity girls’ basketball team accomplished after defeating Churchill, 46-34, last week in their final game of the season. They ended their year with a perfect 17-0 record, becoming the first team in QO girls’ history to finish with a perfect season and concluding what is probably the greatest regular season by any girls’ team at QO.
As noteworthy as this achievement is, making it even more amazing is that it was accomplished by a first-year head coach. Coach Nicole Jeffers isn’t totally new to the Quince Orchard program, however. She is a coach for the AAU program Darnestown Cougars started by current QO girls’ varsity coach Bobby Bishop, and a majority of the girls on the JV team have been playing together for her for several years under Bishop’s system.
“I had a pretty good idea that we were going to do great things this season,” Jeffers said, and great things are what they did.
During the team’s summer workouts, both varsity and JV coaches stressed the importance of a team-first mentality, and the players were willing to do whatever it took to achieve greatness. The players spent hours working out during the summer and fall, and once the season started, they came out swinging. After the first five games the JV Lady Cougars had a combined margin of victory of +141, beating every team by more than 10 points. In fact, the only game of the season within 10 points was against Whitman, where the team still ended up winning by six in giving Whitman their first loss in three years.
The Whitman win showed that this team was special. But that win also put a huge target on the team’s back—they had beaten a team that had not lost a game in three years. The Cougars knew that everyone was coming after them but kept the same attitude throughout the year. “Whenever we go over our game plan, I tell the girls that we need to go out and put together four full quarters of basketball. When we do that no one can beat us,” Jeffers said.
When under pressure this team delivered, even though with each successive victory the pressure increased and the target on their backs got bigger.
The JV’s success bodes well for the future of the Cougars girls’ varsity basketball team, coaches Jeffers and Bishop agree. The program is still rebooting from having a first-year head coach, but the good energy of an undefeated season can bring many good things to come.
The JV girls achieved one of the greatest accomplishments in sports—a perfect season. It didn’t come easily. They had to unite and work hard under a new coach and then persevere as they emerged as the team to beat this season.
Freshman center Katie Dunda, who scored the final points of the historic season, said, “It is something that I will never forget, and I’m glad to set an example for the upcoming girls of QO.”