It was time for the Veterans Lady Warhawks to see a different side of head coach Nicole Miranda this week.
After a triple-overtime loss to Baldwin on Tuesday, the Lady Warhawks’ third straight close loss, Miranda figured it was time for her team see a meaner, more intense coach at Wednesday’s practice.
The plan worked, at Veterans outscored Rutland 16-8 in the fourth quarter to take a 39-32 win Friday night in GHSA Region 2-AAA action.
It was the first time the Lady Warhawks have defeated Rutland.
“We played good basketball,” said Miranda, who played collegiately at South Carolina. “The last three games, we had missed 40 free throws combined and lost three close games. It was just killing us.
“The girls knew I was disappointed, and they knew Wednesday’s practice was going to be difficult. I went the whole practice without a smile, and we just ran them like they had never been run before. We made 12-of-19 free throws (Friday), which is a great improvement for us and probably the key to winning.”
Veterans trailed 24-23 entering the fourth quarter but got points from Jasmine Riley and Kerregan Poe-Cochran in the first minute for a three-point lead. Rutland’s Zoe Davis scored five to regain the advantage, but Mikia Robinson hit three free throws down the stretch and Aspen Coggins hit another basket to give Veterans the win, improving to 10-11 overall and 7-7 in the region.
“At the start of the year, we said 10 wins was a good year,” Miranda said. “Well, we got our 10, and now we are looking for more.”
For Robinson, it was a little vindication from the Baldwin game, during which she missed six straight free throws down the stretch.
“I know my coach and my team had confidence in me, and I knew I was a better free-throw shooter than that,” said Robinson, who finished with 11 points. “I think we came together as a team at the Wednesday practice. It was easily the most grueling day I have ever been through.
“We came out knowing we needed a win against a good team, and thankfully we got it. We definitely aren’t satisfied with 10 wins.”
Poe-Cochran also had 11 points for Veterans, while Davis led Rutland with 17.
Rutland dropped to 10-8 overall and 9-5 in the region.
The Veterans boys completed the sweep, winning its fourth straight game by erasing a seven-point halftime deficit to defeat Rutland 75-71.
Jonathan Robertson scored 21 points and Bryan Hollis added 17 for the Warhawks (12-9, 9-5) while Jalen Kirkland led the way for Rutland (5-12, 4-9), which dropped its seventh straight game.