Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
CHILLICOTHE — With a 47-20 win over Southeastern on Feb. 7, Unioto’s girls accomplished something that’s only happened five times before.
The victory put the finishing touches on an undefeated season in Scioto Valley Conference play, signifying the sixth gold ball in program history.
The now two-time defending league champion Shermans are poised for a deep tournament run, seeded as a three and matched up with Logan Elm in a Division III sectional final this coming Thursday at Adena High School.
Leading that charge will undoubtedly be junior guard Emily Coleman, who’s averaging 11 points, 3.4 assists and 2.7 steals per night.
I had the chance to catch up with Coleman and discuss why this year’s title was so special, her own pre-game rituals, why her team gels so well, and much more.
Question: A gold ball and a second straight conference title. How did this year’s title differentiate from last year’s, and how sweet it is to be able to claim a second in two years?
Coleman: This year’s title is different from last year’s because we didn’t have to share this one. We won outright this year, which was a goal we had set prior to our first game. It felt great to win last year but claiming this year’s felt even better knowing our hard work is paying off.
Q: Your junior class still has another year left to grow. I know it’s early to ask but when your high school career is over with, what’s the legacy you hope your class has left?
EC: I love our junior class. We’re all so close and we’re even more competitive. Even throughout junior high, people would tell us they were excited to watch us in high school. I’d love for us to have two gold balls and three championships by the time we graduate. I’d like the future players to know that winning is a tradition and I want people to look back on us as one of the top classes to ever come through Unioto.
Q: Looking at your potential tournament run, what do you think your team can improve on the most before it starts?
EC: I think we can improve the most on starting the game off strong. A few games this year, we’ve started off slow and we know we can’t afford that in the postseason.
Q: Watching you play defense is so much fun. Your opponent has to know they’re going to deal with you for 32 consecutive minutes whether they like it or not. What motivates you on that side of the ball?
EC: Ever since I’ve been little, I’ve loved playing defense. I know that defense wins games. A lot of motivation comes from coach Davis, who is always pushing us hardest in that aspect of the game.
Q: Do you have any pre-game rituals, maybe a certain song, a certain food, etc.? How do you get ready for a game?
EC: Before every game, I always go out and eat. I prefer either Subway, Roosters or Casa Del Taco. Then I always have either Jocie or Rilee [Davis] braid my hair because my mom is convinced that I shoot better with the braid in.
Q: Speaking of shooting, you’ve also added more to your offensive game as well. How did that happen and what do you feel like you’ve improved on most?
EC: I knew when people started focusing inside and putting multiple people on Jocie [Fisher] that we had to have someone else help score. With both of us scoring, it opens up and inside and outside game for the whole team. I also think I’ve improved on my leadership this season.
Q: Your teammates are pretty talented, too. What one thing makes this team gel so well?
EC: Something special about our team is our chemistry. We all get along well on and off the court, and we laugh a lot together. We aren’t selfish on the court and we all have the game goal to win.