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HomeSportsRob Nickens will get four-hundredth win; Meridian women embrace pit bull mentality

Rob Nickens will get four-hundredth win; Meridian women embrace pit bull mentality


It has been 27 years since Theodore Roosevelt boys’ basketball coach Rob Nickens made his head teaching debut at now-defunct M.M. Washington Excessive, however he can nonetheless recall the pleasure he felt watching his mom tally every of his group’s victories.

Through the years, MaxPreps and college athletic administrators relieved Nickens’s mom of her win-tracking duties, however every victory nonetheless meant loads. On Dec. 19, Nickens skilled a brand new stage of pleasure as his gamers doused him with water following a 74-66 win over Dunbar — the four-hundredth victory of his profession.

“When you get into this enterprise for the fitting causes, reaching a sure variety of wins is the least of your considerations,” mentioned Nickens, 51. “However to achieve a milestone like this with all the turnover and politics that you simply see in teaching, man, that’s legendary — that’s a blessing.”

His full-court press and fast-paced offense proved profitable early, however Nickens didn’t turn into well-known all through the District till 2008, his third season at Theodore Roosevelt, when the Tough Riders knocked off Dunbar and Ballou to seize Nickens’s first metropolis championship.

As his electronic mail deal with and Fb title replicate — RobWinsChampionships — Roosevelt has turn into a public faculty powerhouse, successful 4 extra metropolis titles in addition to a D.C. State Athletic Affiliation championship in 2014. Following a 29-2 season in 2020, Nickens was named All-Met Coach of the Yr.

“Successful is enjoyable,” he mentioned. “However extra importantly, successful retains our children out of the streets and provides them a chance to alter the trajectory of their households by going to varsity.”

Nickens mentioned greater than 100 of his gamers have gone on to play in school and that’s what motivates him to proceed teaching.

“On the finish of the day, I do know the children on this metropolis want me,” Nickens mentioned. “What we do right here is larger than ball. It’s greater than wins and losses, too. Rising up in D.C. isn’t like lots of these suburbs, as a result of there aren’t lots of avenues for our children to make it out. However basketball is considered one of them. So so long as I’m ready, I’m going to maintain build up younger males and successful video games.”

Meridian embraces pit bull mentality

Earlier than the season, Meridian women’ coach Chris Carrico advised his gamers they wanted to be “pit bulls” on protection in the event that they wished to achieve their third straight Virginia Class 3 title recreation. At first, they laughed on the metaphor.

“Now it’s really a giant supply of pleasure on our group,” senior Peyton Jones mentioned. “It’s virtually cooler to be higher at protection on our group than to be a giant offensive participant.”

This season, Meridian’s opponents have averaged 31.5 factors — no small feat for the Mustangs (7-1), contemplating they graduated 10 seniors and have performed virtually all of their nonconference video games in opposition to a lot bigger Class 6 colleges.

“We take lots of pleasure in that as a result of I really feel like lots of greater colleges overlook us,” senior Elizabeth Creed mentioned.

These matchups had been by design. After final season ended with a 51-47 loss to Carroll County within the Class 3 championship recreation, Carrico realized his gamers wanted extra expertise taking part in in shut video games so they may perceive the worth of each possession. To date, the plan has labored.

“Now our group actually likes to emphasise 50/50 balls, as a result of clearly we realized within the state last recreation that could possibly be the distinction between a win and a loss,” Jones mentioned.

Mia Johnson, St. Charles: The senior and Shippensburg commit tied her profession excessive with 39 factors in a win over Lackey on Dec. 19. She added 11 rebounds and 4 steals.

Jadyn Harris, Bishop O’Connell: The junior went off for 30 factors — together with a 5-for-5 efficiency from three-point vary — within the Knights’ 77-57 win over Rainier Seaside (Wash.) on the Jerry Tarkanian Traditional in Las Vegas.

Kullen Robinson, Alexandria Metropolis: The senior had a career-defining recreation in opposition to Potomac (Va.), scoring 28 factors on 10-for-14 taking pictures handy the Panthers their first loss.

Eleanor Roosevelt women: It’s onerous to single out a participant from the defensive clinic the Raiders placed on in an 80-12 win over Bladensburg. Roosevelt had 40 steals and held the Mustangs to 2 factors within the first three quarters.

Governors Problem, by Friday in Salisbury, Md.

Lake Braddock match, Tuesday to Thursday

All In regards to the Ladies Vacation Hoops match, Thursday and Friday

Whitman coach reaches 250 wins

Whitman boys’ coach Chris Lun headed right into a classroom at Walter Johnson to speak together with his group. The Vikings had simply defeated their hosts, and the win was Lun’s 250th.

As Lun stepped into the room, he acquired a second of calm. Then the foolish string started to fly.

Lun’s gamers jumped round their coach, spraying him in a shock celebration. His spouse, Monica Hepburn, had arrange the foolish string prematurely, figuring out her husband was on the cusp of the milestone.

Lun has been this system’s standard-bearer since 2004, when he arrived at age 27. Eighteen years, 250 wins and a 2006 Maryland 4A state title later, he’s nonetheless there — an accomplishment he’s happy with.

“It’s the one place I’ve coached,” Lun mentioned. “It makes me understand that I’ve caught in the identical place and caught with it and put within the time and made it essential for the fellows. … I’m simply [really] happy with this system that we’ve constructed.”

Earlier than the Vikings (5-1) performed their subsequent recreation, he was honored in a pregame ceremony the place he acquired a ball painted with “250” and the small print of the victory. Lun deliberate to maneuver it into the college’s trophy case as he decides the place to place it in his house.

After the foolish string enjoyable within the classroom, Lun and his gamers gathered dustpans, brooms and moist paper towels to scrub up their exuberant mess earlier than heading house. That’s a trademark of Lun’s, whether or not it’s quarter-hour in a classroom or 18 years with a group: He has left the place as good or higher than it was when he bought there.

A Hokie in cost at O’Connell

Brittany Davis had been instructing English at Bishop O’Connell for 5 years earlier than a chance arose to mix the 2 elements of her skilled life. Davis, who performed school basketball at Virginia Tech, had saved a connection to the sport into maturity, working with native AAU groups and coaching gamers.

This previous offseason, when Aggie McCormick-Dix vacated the top job at O’Connell, Davis figured the time and place had been proper to leap into the highschool recreation.

“When the chance arose to interview for the top O’Connell job, I assumed, ‘Oh, that is it,’ ” she mentioned. “ ‘I’m able to hop again in and go for it.’ ”

The job shouldn’t be a straightforward one: O’Connell faces excessive expectations each winter within the talent-rich Washington Catholic Athletic Convention. Davis’s squad began 7-3 amid an bold and eclectic nonconference schedule. The Knights have wins in opposition to applications from Texas, Pennsylvania and Georgia.

“Their finest model of basketball is after they all purchase in,” Davis mentioned. “Gifted groups win video games, however proficient groups who play collectively and are mentally powerful win championships.”

Earlier than the challenges of the season started, Davis was tasked with establishing a tradition in her program. As somebody who performed the sport not too long ago, Davis had sturdy reminiscences of what she appreciated and disliked about specific teaching types.

“The truth that my school coach at all times had an open-door coverage was huge,” she mentioned. “Sure, your gamers need to respect you, and that’s essential. … However there’s a line between self-discipline and charm, and it’s a must to know the way to steadiness that so you’ll be able to at all times have rising moments. That’s what I beloved about my coaches: They had been very strict, however on the finish of the day additionally they prolonged grace.”



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