By Mike Phillips
Corsicana Daily Sun
Sooner or later just about every team delivers that old cliché about taking them one game at a time.
But at Frost they have their own version.
“We just take them one season at a time,” said Heather Montgomery after helping the Lady Bears beat Milford 60-21 on Tuesday.
Frost is playing basketball these days, and the Lady Bears are making that tough crossover move on the court. Not the slick dribble, but the one that goes from volleyball to basketball, from bump, set, spike to running the fast break and setting screens and smothering teams with a defense that is often unrelenting.
Just look at the Milford game. Frost forced 21 turnovers — and that was just in the first half.
And if you think 60-21 is a one-sided victory, think again. This was the closest contest the Frost girls have played while running out to a 4-0 start.
“The competition will get tougher,’’ said Coach Clark Moore, who knows it’s a long way from Thanksgiving to the state playoffs.
Frost knows about the postseason and that’s what helps drive these kids, who had a big year in volleyball before losing a tough, close match in the playoffs to Wortham. They wiped away the tears and the next day they picked up a basketball and started looking for another run -- one season at a time.
“We practiced the next day,’’ Montgomery said. “It’s different, but it’s pretty easy to make the change because we practice hard and work hard. We kind of just remember stuff. We kind of just jump into basketball.”
They made it look easy Tuesday, jumping out to a 15-0 lead after the first quarter. Moore played all 10 of his girls (they had only seven on the volleyball team), alternating a fresh five from time to time.
It’s like this at almost every Class 1A school in Texas, where the same kids (boys and girls) get to play just about every sport, and it’s especially evident at Frost, which is one of the smallest 1A schools in the state.
“We have 20 girls to play seven sports,’’ said Moore, who coached the cross country team this fall and was the assistant volleyball coach. Elaine Woods is the head volleyball coach, and she’s the assistant girls basketball coach. ” That’s a good thing about a small school. You can do everything.”
And at Frost, they tend to do everything well.
The volleyball powers that challenged Frost in the district race such as Kopperl and Blum, won’t be a threat in basketball, and Coolidge, the team to beat in the district race in basketball, wouldn’t have been a problem for Frost in volleyball.
Because Frost is so small, unlike larger schools that stay in the same conference, the Polar Bears, who have a tough crossover themselves from a football team that just lost in the playoffs to basketball, and Lady Bears switch districts from sport to sport.
But at Frost there is a wave of success.
It was just a few weeks ago that the Frost girls, who won the district title in cross country and battled for the top spot in volleyball, were putting on a juggling act, literally running to a top 10 finish at the state cross country meet the final week of volleyball season. There was almost a need for a tiebreaker to decide the volleyball district champ, and Frost would have faced a volleyball playoff game on the same day as the state cross country meet and a real cross-Texas journey to pull off the rare double-double.
Now Montgomery and the others seem comfortable on the basketball court, where Moore’s team is coming off the best year in the school’s history. Frost won a school-record 28 games last and was the area champion. The Lady Bears lost three seniors, and bring back one of the youngest teams anywhere.
Diana Rios, who scored 14 points and had six rebounds, is the only senior, and Montgomery, who dropped in 11 points and led the Lady Bears with seven rebounds, is the only junior. Sophomore Jae Moore, who was named the district’s Offensive Player of the Year in volleyball, led the scoring on Tuesday, pouring in 23 points and pulling down five rebounds. She made three 3’s — all in the first half when Frost built a 33-6 halftime lead.
Madison Revill scored seven points and had three rebounds and Kaycee Bowling and Karlee Scott scored two points each while Jocelyn Roberts hit a free throw.
They didn’t look like a team that had just changed sports.
We’ve played together a lot and know each other so well,’’ Jae Moore said. “I really don’t know if there is a secret to our game. Whatever the sport is, we just focus on that sport. We don’t look back (at volleyball) or ahead (to softball).’’
And winning breeds winning.
“Last year helped a lot,’’ Montgomery said. “It gave us a lot of confidence.’’
No one knows if this year’s team can win 28 games, but the loss of three seniors hasn’t dampened the idea this team can win, and the youth movement with a talented sophomore class has the Lady Bears thinking about having another big season.
“We lost three seniors from last year’s team,’’ Clark Moore said. ”It when we lose people that just gives someone else a chance. We’ve got the potential to do what we did last year, and we hope to go a step further. We have a lot of work to do. It’s been a good transition so far.’’