One day after the regional tournament, Destiny Perkins was back in the gym.
The Richmond sophomore went to all the places on the court she missed shots. She watched film. She tried to figure out why some free throws fell through why other didn’t.
“I started going through all the things I should have done,” Perkins said.
But that’s just typical Perkins, if you ask Richmond coach Casey Pohlenz. As good as she is — and Perkins is very, very good — she is always working to get better.
Perkins was one reason Richmond ended a 15-year drought to win North Central Conference and Class 4A sectional titles. Perkins and Red Devil teammate Mackenzie Taylor are the Palladium-Item’s co-Players of the Year for girls basketball, while Pohlenz is the choice for Coach of the Year.
“The good thing about her is she’s a workaholic,” Pohlenz said of Perkins. “She wants to get better.”
Not many were better at scoring the basketball than Perkins.
She finished seventh in the state in scoring, according to statistics on maxpreps.com. She was the NCC’s leading offensive player, averaging a conference-best 23.4 points per game.
Perkins also grabbed 3.6 rebounds with 3.3 assists and 3.9 steals per game as Richmond went a perfect 9-0 in the NCC to win the conference for the first time since 2000.
That was the same year the Devils won their last sectional title.
Richmond was coming off a .500 season the year before. Perkins just used the naysayers to add fuel to her competitive fire.
“I used that as motivation,” she said.
“I worked on my game a lot. I even worked on things I was good at. I worked on my left hand a lot and worked on making strong moves to the basket.”
Richmond finished 20-7. The Red Devils ran through the sectional, halting New Castle first before knocking off host Mt. Vernon, a team that had beaten RHS by 33 points a month earlier.
Perkins said Richmond’s focus never wavered, nor did it move beyond what was in front of the Red Devils.
“We just played hard. We took it one game at a time,” Perkins said.
“It (the regional) didn’t turn out how we wanted it to. … We thought we were ready. It was a learning experience.”
It was the seventh season for Pohlenz leading the Red Devils. He has finished .500 or better in each of the last five campaigns.
“It was a really special year. It was a fun group,” Pohlenz said. “We’re losing some key components. We have a lot of parts back. Hopefully we’ve set that standard and will continue to live up to it. The kids did it. This is all about them.”
While Perkins and Taylor garnered significant attention, Perkins is very quick to shine the spotlight back on her teammates.
“It was the whole team,” she said. “Every day in practice, we pushed each other.”
Josh Chapin: (765) 973-4463 email@example.com or twitter.com/JoshChapinPI