Mount Zion guard Tynesha Parks has been praised by her coach for helping lead a young team with her senior leadership. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)
JONESBORO — An offseason of what coach Tiesha Wilson calls “dedication by her team,” is paying off some big rewards for the Mount Zion girls’ basketball team.
The Bulldogs, who haven’t won more than seven games in a season the last four seasons, are on the brink of having their best campaign since a playoff appearance in 2009. Since the school opened in 1990, Mount Zion has only been to the state playoffs three times. Mount Zion is 10-6 overall and 2-1 in Region 4-AAAAA, Div. A this season.
During the times of the program’s struggles, Mount Zion didn’t play in many big games.
But that won’t be the case this evening when the Bulldogs take on Drew in a key subregion contest. The teams are tied for second place in the subregion behind leader and defending region champion Forest Park.
“Overall, I’m pretty pleased, but we are still pushing for more,” Wilson said. “This team dedicated themselves to get better over the summer. They have bought into what we have been preaching to them. We are finally figuring out the recipe for success.”
That success has led to tonight’s game. With both teams having already lost to Forest Park, the winner of this game keeps close in the standings.
“We take every game as a big game,” Wilson said. “We do recognize that we have a chance to solidify second place in the subregion. I’m sure we will come in with a lot of focus.”
Last week, Mount Zion lost to Forest Park 58-54, but turned around the next night and defeated rival Jonesboro 41-36 before a win over Ola.
Winning streaks, no matter how short, have been rare at Mount Zion the last four seasons.
Wilson is hoping that brief momentum can help her team against a Drew squad that has all its starters back from a year ago.
For the most part, the players are approaching the game with an even keel.
“We look at it as the next game on the schedule,” Mount Zion senior Tynesha Parks said. “We are not looking at it in a special way. We are going to go out and do what we have been doing.”
The Bulldogs started the season on a five-game winning streak before a loss to Jonesboro, which they would avenge last Saturday. Mount Zion is 4-1 in road games while sporting a 6-3 record at home and two losses at neutral sites.
As expected, winning has boost the team’s confidence.
“Our confidence is very high,” Mount Zion senior Alia Partridge said. “We all have to do our part and contribute to the team. This is a very big game since we lost to Forest Park. We have a lot of team chemistry, and everybody is doing their part.”