FLORENCE, S.C. – There’s always a transitional period with a new coach, and Kevin Robinson saw that last season at West Florence High.
“They had to learn my ways and adapt to some of the things I was trying to do,” the Knights’ girls’ basketball coach said. “But as they started to believe and buy into my system and what I was teaching, that really showed later on in the second half of the year.”
West Florence got off to hot start in Region 6-5A play and was 6-1 at one point before finishing 7-3 and earning the second seed for the playoffs and a first-round home game.
With the overwhelming majority of that same team coming back, Robinson and the Knights are looking to build on that late-season surge as summer workouts get underway.
“We really caught fire at the end of last season, and with a heavy group of players coming back, we’re looking to keep that momentum going,” Robinson said. “We’re ready to get back in the weight room and get back on the basketball court and put the work in and hopefully make some noise this season.”
Robinson said he felt like the season changed with a victory at South Florence. Amaura Burgess’ putback basket in overtime gave the Knights a 3-0 record in the region at the time and was really a springboard moving forward, he said.
“That was the game where we felt really good afterwards,” Robinson said. “We overcame some adversity in the game and really got things moving in the right direction.”
West fell in the opening round of the playoffs in a heartbreaking 36-34 loss to Berkeley, but Robinson was pleased with the way his team responded after getting down 30-18 at one point.
“We came up short, but just to be able to host a playoff game and compete for a region championship was big for the girls and big for me in my first year,” Robinson said.
A run at a region championship will be a little more challenging this year, as West drops down to class 4A and will have to face a tougher schedule against Wilson, Darlington, Hartsville and Myrtle Beach to name a few.
That alone increases the importance of the summer workouts as Robinson’s team prepares for what might be the toughest region in the state.
“You can’t take a day off in this region,” Robinson said. “It’s going to be tough. But I believe in what we’re going over here at West Florence, and we’re excited to see how we stack up against some top-tier talent.
“It will be a difference from the region that we’re used to, but we’re excited for the challenge.”