The goals weren’t major for Pete Cool.
When the Williamston girls basketball coach took charge a decade ago, he just wanted a program that worked hard each time it stepped on the court for a game or practice.
“It was very kind of plain and basic,” Cool said. “It was just show up and work hard every day.
“We don’t really say we want to win this or win that. Basically it’s the old cliché and win the games in practice. If you get after it in practice, the game seems to take care of itself.”
That approach has worked for Williamston, which has thrived under Cool’s leadership. The Class B No. 3-ranked Hornets, who were voted the LSJ team of the month for January, are 16-1 this season and have captured their fourth consecutive CAAC White title.
This season’s success has been part of a stretch in which Williamston has had at least 15 victories in five straight seasons and six of the last seven.
Senior Halle Wisbiski, a third-year varsity player, said it’s been special to be part of the successful run on the court for the Hornets, who have 33 consecutive league victories.
Being part of three consecutive league championships “is something that’s not obviously easy to do,” said Wisbiski. “I wasn’t expecting it, but working hard at it – it pays off.”
Cool believes part of his program’s success is being able to get into the community. He’s worked to expose girls to his program in the lower levels of the Williamston school system as he’s tried to build the culture. Cool also teaches at the middle school and has gotten a chance to know and build relationships with players before they reach high school.
That is paying dividends on the court, especially in a season which began for Williamston with six of its 10 players not having played a minute of varsity basketball. Cool has noticed a strong chemistry with varsity veterans Wisbiski, Elana Lycos, Maddie Watters and Allison Peplowski meshing with players like talented freshmen Kenzie Lewis and Paige Basore to make the Hornets one of the state’s best again.
“It’s been really neat, and it’s kind of cool to see success,” Cool said. “We really just focus on the process goals. What didn’t we do while in this game for example? We didn’t box out, so let’s work on that in the next three or four practices.
“That’s how I look at it is the process goals more than anything. If we lose a game, we lose a game. If we lose two or three, whatever. We go back to the drawing board, and we try to work on the things that made us lose the game. Maybe there’s nothing we could have done no matter what or maybe there’s things we could have tweaked.”
Players have bought into that process and focused on the importance of every game as part of the bigger picture. They also have embodied the never-satisfied approach displayed by Cool.
“He’s always pushing us to be our best,” Lycos said. “He just wants us to reach our full potential. He doesn’t want us to ever be satisfied with ourselves where we’re just not improving at all. He wants us to keep improving and working hard. I think a big thing is he always wants us to stay humble. He’s really humble with us and tries to keep us in the same mindset just to keep building higher and pushing forward.”
Contact Brian Calloway at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @brian_calloway.