After spending valuable time as head coach of volleyball during the fall, Waelder’s Rachel Tucker is excited to start the basketball season with a group of athletes who now know her expectations.
“I’m excited because I think the girls are finally excited about athletics in general,” Tucker said. “Their attitude is shifting, kind of changing things around. For Waelder, we’re in the shadow of the boys, that’s a given. Waelder is boys basketball, and it should be. They’re very successful and they’re going to be very successful still. But I’m excited to teach them something new.”
Coming into this season, the Lady Wildcats are young and inexperienced, with a varsity squad filled with underclassmen.
“We’re young, still,” Tucker said. “I’ve got two juniors and the rest are freshmen. But they’re catching on quickly and they seem eager to learn.”
The Lady Wildcats face a tough test early in the season with a trip to the Athens Tournament the first weekend of December.
“I think it’s going to be a good mix for us,” Tucker explained. “It’s a tournament that has bigger schools, but I think the very first game we should be able to compete. I think it’s going to be good for us to see the challenges that it’s going to take to play against Moulton, to play against Dime Box, schools that are traditionally good rivals. I think that’ll be good.”
Moulton remains the team to beat, not only in District 30-1A, but in all of Class 1A as the second ranked team according to the Texas Girls Coaches Association. The Texas Association of Basketball Coaches have Moulton ranked eighth.
“To me, I don’t really pay attention to that,” Tucker said of the state rankings. “Without sounding cocky, the bigger they think they are, the harder they fall. ‘Any given Sunday,’ I think they can lose at any time.”
The first year Waelder head coach did add that her team’s youth will be a big hurdle to try to overcome, especially as she implements her system.
“That matters in the grand scheme of things,” Tucker said. “It’s a learning process for us. The girls are having to again learn my personality, because I have some kids that did not play volleyball that are playing basketball.”
“My concern isn’t necessarily what they [Moulton] are doing and what they are,” Tucker added, “my concern is what we’re doing, and what we are [as a team].”
Waelder will use these games this season to set the program up future success.
“We got to start somewhere,” Tucker said.
With the amount of freshmen currently on the team, the Waelder Wildcats hope this season is just step one to building a program.