[This article current as of December 10, 2023]

With a bright future ahead of them, the North Mecklenburg Women’s Basketball team’s 2023 season is about to kick off as of writing. After a clean sheet last year in their conference of 12-0, an overall record of 27-3, and becoming one game away from regional semi-finals they’re looking to dominate this season. While six seniors have left, coach of 15 years, Coach Baker is looking to introduce some new players and teach them the North Meck way as they become part of the team.

As they’re looking to get into Regionals again and go all the way they first have to take it one game at a time. Coach Baker explains that “Our biggest challenge will just be, I think patience, poise, and letting the game come to us instead of just trying to force the issue sometimes.” While this will help a lot Baker is also looking to change their style of play a bit in order to play to her players strengths and get the best performance out of each of them. Coach Baker says that “the style we’ve been playing: small, man down, running around. You’re going to see some of that this year, but it might not be as much as before because we’re going to look totally different then we have the past 8 years.”

While they will be looking and playing a bit different one thing hasn’t changed. The connections that the players make off the field and their academic success is still a major priority for Coach Baker as well. Baker states “we encourage them to go to tutoring and be well-rounded. Don’t just play basketball, be a part of the school environment as well, so go to a club and do more to be well-rounded.” Coach Baker also brings the whole team to Champions, a sports performance center in order to not only train but connect as well. Baker explains “working there what they do when you bring a whole team in is that they not only do individual training but team training too so they’re also working together as a group and playing a lot of games. I like going there because not only are they working on the skills they need to work on but they’re also working on how to be together.” Coach Baker also provides team bonding experiences such as going to Frankies because she explains how sometimes you need to step back from your sport in order to learn someone else.

This team is truly a family through and through. Players from years past still ask for schedules in order to come to games and they’ll joke around saying “man coach you’re getting kind of soft you used to run us for that.” in which Baker would return with “I’m not soft we just have to be technical about things.” However Coach Baker explains how she thinks a lot of lasting relationships have formed between her and past players while they’ve gone out to many different places. While you’re on her team as well Baker states “ So I think they know that I will fight for them to the end and then if they did wrong they know they’ve done wrong too, it’s kind of a clear balance but I will always fight for them if it’s necessary.” No matter what they go through or what they do they are a team and will stand up for one another. Coach Baker shows them that she’s there to support them but she’ll tell them when they’re wrong allowing them to grow as an individual.

Overall, the North Mecklenburg Women’s Basketball team is looking like it will have another successful season this year. They’ve fought through thick and thin together like a family and with the help of Coach Baker and a new season ahead of them we can’t wait to see what they do next. 🆅