Christina Leonard divides her time between teaching at Wade Hampton High and coaching the girls varsity basketball team at J.L. Mann.
Leonard said it’s not a problem working at two schools. She only had to make a time adjustment.
“We just have a later practice every day,” she said. “By the time I get over there, they are in study hall doing what they should be doing.”
This is Leonard’s first assignment as a varsity head coach, and her first team was a little short-handed from the outset. For starters, three girls who played at Mann last year are now playing at other schools.
“For various reasons, we had three transfer to other schools,” Leonard said “We have three girls that have never been on a varsity team before. One that was out last year with a back injury; she only played in one game. We are basically starting a team.”
The Patriots got off to an 0-4 start, but Leonard said the team had improved every game until a 61-13 loss to Mauldin Dec. 10.
“Things are coming together,” Leonard said after the loss to Mauldin. “Last week, we started Monday and lost to Greenville by 30. We played them again Friday and with three minutes to go, (they) had to put (their) starters back in. We had improved a lot.
“I don’t like numbers and goals. I like looking at things like we improved Monday to Friday. I don’t look at numbers on paper. My goal is that at the end of the year, we have gotten better in every single game.”
Leonard said it’s not one player or a group of players improving but the entire team.
“We are all getting to know each other,” she said. “Every day it is a different player standing out, a different player showing more effort.”
The effort paid off when Mann earned its first victory Dec. 11 by defeating visiting Boiling Springs 42-41. Two nights later, the Patriots won at Boiling Springs 57-40 to improve to 2-4.