The score kept ticking up, but Pinecrest head coach Ken Lacy’s emotional needle never seemed to move one way or the other on Tuesday evening in a home region match against Whitefield—a team entering the contest with just one loss on the season, like the Lady Paladins.
The 64-47 win kept Pinecrest (7-1, 4-0) in first place of Region 6-A. Still—the jog off the court following the game looked more like a halftime stroll than a celebration.
At one point in the contest Mary-Margaret Metz—who finished with a game-high 28 points along with five steals—was grilled by Lacy for not defending the perimeter. Lacy made sure to ask her to give a good explanation before the next play began out of a timeout.
Lacy and his Lady Paladins have made a point this season not to count, not to look at numbers and not track milestones. The formula, so far, is working.
“We’re kind of a funny group,” Lacy said. “We don’t have any explicitly stated goals for the season. We don’t talk region championships. We want to play better than we did yesterday, we want people to say hey, that’s great basketball.”
In the humble, small and rarely packed gym on Pinecrest’s campus, Lacy’s direction to his players is heard loud and clear. Communication is key. Getting lost in the schematics rather than the scoreboard is likely. Lacy prefers the environment—especially with a group of eight girls that has no year-round players.
“I’ve always been one to ignore the numbers,” Lacy said. “But these girls have really embraced it. I cracked and realized Molly Dankowski had a career-high 14 points the other night but I still don’t think she knows because she never asked.”
A gamer can’t happen without numbers though: Regina Metz added 13 points, while Christina Brinson added 7 points and Dankowski and Maddie Lynch each had 6. Whitefield’s Laren Varensdale scored 26 to lead the Lady Wolfpack. Her quickness looked like a major concern heading into the game, but Lacy’s team gave them a taste of their own medicine, scoring seemingly every bucket in transition and under the basket.
“We knew they had two really quick guards but what we have focused on is our team speed as a whole. We really tried to run them and we’ve done that all year,” Lacy said.
Pinecrest is now in a six-game winning streak where it has won contests by at least 15 five times. Four of those wins are by more than 30. The team’s only loss was a 50-45 nail biter against high-classification Chattahoochee. They followed with a 30-point win over Class 7A opponent Forsyth Central.
Again—none of them has registered with Lacy. At least, he insists.
“My first year here (three seasons ago) coach Kane told me after a game where we were in the power rankings. I had no idea that was a thing,” he laughed. Pinecrest has every reason to be in them right now.