Champions aren’t born overnight. To get positive results, players have to put in the work—and that’s exactly what the Trenton Tigers girls’ basketball team did.
From long hours in the gym after school, to countless summer games, the Tigers practiced religiously. The result – a 2019 Class 1A championship.
“A lot of people don’t understand,” said head coach Bryant Frye. “You don’t win ballgames in November and December. You win them in the summer time and when you’re in (the gym). If they want to get in there and work and develop it, then you’ll have success.”
The results speak for themselves. The Tigers beat Holmes County 43-31 in the championship game to cap the season off in the best way possible.
“It was like ‘Whoa, did this actually just happen?’,” said Bri Becker. “It took a couple days for me to realize how big it was. I was almost in shock when it happened.”
Surprisingly, the players had mixed reactions when the final buzzer sounded.
“After the game I just walked off because I was tired,” Standrea McHenry said with a laugh. “After we got into the locker room I celebrated, but at that point I just needed something to drink.”
In all honesty, the championship should not be that much of a shock. Almost the entire group of core players returned after reaching the regional finals last year. A core that has been developing chemistry since 2015.
Even Frye admitted that he didn’t have to prepare much for the championship game because of the talented players he had.
“It wasn’t really hard,” said Frye. “(The seniors) have been there and they knew what it was like. They took it more like a business trip. We were really healthy going in this time. I saw they were more focused this time than they were in the past.”
There were some obstacles along the way, though. Starter Bryn Thomas graduated early in December to attend The University of Florida in the spring and play on the university’s softball team. The hole in the lineup allowed the freshman Becker to step in and learn from the seniors.
“They taught me how to be positive,” said Becker, “and to not be so hard on myself. I’m kind of a perfectionist, so anytime I mess up I get mad and want to give up. They were always encouraging me to keep shooting. I followed their example of shaking it off whenever you get down.”
The transition worked well as Trenton didn’t lose a game after January 12.
“As I saw the progression of her,” Frye said, “then I knew we had a really good shot (at winning a championship).”
It was a straight shot to the title until an injury occurred during the game.
“I was being aggressive,” Zakyah Frazier said, “and trying to go for the ball. I felt the girl push me from behind, and my leg just twisted as I was going down. I knew I tore my ACL for the second time.”
The incident happened just five minutes into the game. The rest of the girls worked hard to overcome the loss, and pulled out the most important win of their lives.
After three straight years of making it to the Class 1A tournament, the Tigers finally went the distance, and are ready for more.
With Frye remaining with the program, more success is bound to be on the way. His 125-15 record in four seasons at Trenton is a testament to how his emphasis on hard work equals success. He pushes his players in practice and in the game, and his seniors realize the benefit in that.
“He always encouraged us to keep playing,” said McHenry. “Even if we’re up at halftime, he tells us to play like it’s 0-0 and to not give the other team an opportunity to feel like they can win.”
With him since the beginning of his coaching tenure at Trenton, Frye is going to miss this senior class and can’t wait to see what they do at the next level.
“I’m hard on them. I’m rough on them, but I love them. They’re like my kids. It’s like my kids going off to college in a way. You want them to succeed and be the best products of society they can be.”