Our View: The Villians eye an eighth
Millions of eyes will be on Greensboro and the Atlantic Coast Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament beginning today and running through Sunday. But a large contingent in this area will be focused also — or maybe even instead of — on Raleigh this weekend.
That’s where at noon on Saturday in N.C. State’s Reynolds Coliseum, the Bishop McGuinness girls basketball powerhouse will vie for a record-setting eighth straight NCHSAA 1A state championship. The Villians will defend their title against East Regional champion River Mill Academy of Graham.
We all remember that Bishop McGuinness girls set the N.C. record for consecutive state championships last season with a seventh straight championship. They’re a few away from the record for total championships, but after last year’s run for that seventh title, there’s not been the chasing-a-record mentality among team members this year, according to coach Brian Robinson.
“It’s a great feeling, it really is,” Robinson said this week about making it back to the championship game. “More so this year than any other year — I don’t know if it’s because we’re not really chasing a record or if it’s because we weren’t expecting to get back here because we lost six seniors. But we’re here and we’re excited, and hopefully we can play well Saturday.”
Perhaps, the story of this year’s team and its success has been about younger players — replacements for those six seniors from last year — stepping into their positions, trusting in their coach and finding their way after an initial rough start to the season. After losing six games early, the Villians won 16 of 17 games on the road to Saturday’s state finals.
Of course, for those younger girls this year, trusting in a coach the caliber of Robinson is not a bad strategy. At the Bishop McGuinness helm in his 11th year, Robinson has compiled a coaching resume that most coaches at all levels of the sport could envy. In addition to the seven state championships, he’s coached USA Basketball in the 2007 Women’s Youth Development Festival in Colorado Springs, and he’s won the Homer Thompson Award for “coaches who made a difference” through exemplary sportsmanship and off-court impact on players and students.
Those familiar with Bishop McGuinness basketball will tell you Brian Robinson is a special person and coach. And they’ll also tell you they like this Villians team’s chances to repeat, again, as state champions. We wish them good luck.