Why the Lady Titans Should Not Be Overlooked
Winning is the goal. In the last decade, the girls basketball team has done nothing but win. But even on their senior night, the girls drew less of a crowd than the boys team, who played across town and lost 63-49 to West Potomac. Despite the lack of support, the girls recorded a decisive 74-55 win over rival West Potomac for the final home regular season game.
With a 66-13 record over the past three years the girls basketball team has been a special program, and one of the best at T.C. It is run by Gunston District Coach of the Year Lisa Willis. Willis, a former top-five pick in the WNBA draft, was only hired in September but is an invested coach who has continued to find success coaching the Lady Titans.
“My biggest disappointment with the undervaluing of women’s sports at T.C. and elsewhere is that women are playing a role in this,” said Willis, “there are tons of women and girls not supporting their kind. That’s a problem. I have talked to females at T.C. and they said boys basketball is more lit. That clearly means that they haven’t given us a chance.”
“We play good music. We make good plays often. We get hyped. We are an entertaining team, but the issue is women not giving other women support,” said Willis. “I am adamant about providing the girls’ program with a top of the line experience because I know what it is like to receive the gear, the shoes, the perks, etc. So, the plan is to create a program full of leaders who are being treated like leaders in all areas.”
The roster boasts multiple all-district players with seniors Sasha Bates and Trinity Palacio, Gunston District Player of the Year, on the first team and N’jya Hopkins on the defensive first team. Palacio said, “It will always be hard for female basketball players because [basketball] is a guys sport… it is wrong when people say watching T.C. girls is boring because we definitely play our hardest every game”
This is not to say the boys team should not get a ton of support from Titan fans. The boys played excellent basketball this year and completely turned around the program, but if the boys are away and the girls are at home it makes sense to give the girls home court advantage. The Lady Titans play just as hard and practice just as much as the boys.
Senior guard Geonna Stockton said, “I think people don’t come out because we are females and many do not think we are as exciting to watch [as the boys]. I think it is really unfair that people only come out and support us when we go far or there is a big game.”
The boys basketball team has the girls back on this issue. Nine out of ten boys varsity players polled said that the girls team is undervalued in comparison to them.
All Occoquan Region First Team player, senior Jaquan Johnson said, “People overlook them because they are girls. More people should support them, they are really good.”
Senior guard Tim Sellers said, “I feel like the girls should be valued just as much as our team. Yeah we played more uptempo and the games are more packed, but they have been going at peoples necks for the past four years and some people don’t know it.” It isn’t just seniors that are in support of them, junior guard Tobias Kargbo said, I think the girls should get a lot more support than us even though we are changing the boys basketball culture at T.C. Williams, the girls have been doing this for four consecutive years. They deserve as much clout off this as we have gotten this past year. Shout out to all the seniors on that team they truly impacted the girls program for the last four years.”
“I do not think we need the fans because we are going to play hard regardless but we just want people to recognize what we do,” said Palacio.