After a phenomenal high school career in basketball and soccer, Mel Merringer left her mark on Liberty Christian Academy when she graduated in 2016. Now as coach of the LCA middle school girls basketball team, she is investing in the next generation of Lady Eagles. In her first year, Coach Merringer has taken a new team and made them into a squad of ten girls playing hard every practice and every game. Earlier this week, she answered a few questions both looking forward to the tournament as well as reflecting on the hard work that has gotten her team this far.
What’s been your favorite moment from this season so far?
There are so many great moments I could highlight, but one that really sticks out is when Gabby came into the game against Madison and sunk a deep shot within ten seconds of being in, that was pretty exciting. Another great moment was when Rachel made a buzzer beater shot on her knees under the basket.
What’s the greatest challenge your team has faced so far this season?
The greatest challenge for this team has probably been mindset. Mindset is everything for a team who pretty much didn’t exist the previous year and now they’re good enough to compete with pretty decent teams. Just knowing that they’re no longer the team they used to be and having that mindset shift has probably been the biggest thing.
What moments stand out in which the team has risen to the occasion?
Grace Christian is one of the toughest opponents we’ll play all season, and we came out ready to work hard and overcome the challenge. They beat two teams we lost to, so the girls knew going in that it was going to be tough, but they really stepped up their game and were able to seal the win with a 6 point lead. I’ve never seen them work together so well.
What have you learned as a coach this year?
There is a long list of really great things I’ve learned this season, but the biggest thing is probably gaining perspective. Playing hard in a basketball game is great, but if there are other things going on in a players life it’s more important to see that, and understand that their mental and emotional wellbeing comes first, always.
What’s your goal for the team for the rest of the season?
My biggest goal for them is that they have fun and learn from everything they do. Whether they win or lose, there’s always something to learn. Ultimately, if we win but we didn’t learn anything about ourselves or our team did we really win?
The Lady Eagles will finish out the regular season on the road against Gahanna Christian on January 28th and host Shekinah Christian on January 30th.