St. Frederick High School serving grades 7-12
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St. Fred's Waller wins Girls Basketball Coach of the Year

By Cody Futrell 

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MONROE — There are few things in the world St. Frederick basketball coach Joseph Waller likes less than talking about himself and his own ac­complishments.

Waller would much rather point out the su­perb job his coaching staff around him did, or his Lady Warrior players coming together throughout the season.

But, there is no deny­ing the instant impact his arrival had on a girls bas­ketball program once the door mat of District 2-1A. Waller led the Lady War­riors to the playoffs that earned their highest seeding (No. 18) in nearly a decade and narrowly missed a first-round win at No. 15 St. Mary’s in a
 29-26 defeat. The kind of turn­around the Lady War­riors showed under Wal­ler, going 15-13 after win­ning just 3 games in the last two years combined, earned the coach the 2014 All-NELA Small School Girls Basketball Coach of the Year.

“My coaching staff around me (assistants Johnny Mercer and Ma­cie LaBorde) had just as much to do with it,” Wal­ler said. “They both did a tremendous job. Those two were a huge asset to me.”

Waller spent time as a head coach in the Missis­sippi Association of Inde­pendent Schools at Prai­rie View Academy in Bas­trop before taking the St. Frederick job last sum­mer. Waller was head coach of the boys and girls basketball at St. Frederick for the 2013-2014 season.

Waller saw within the first week of practice this fall, that the Lady War­riors had the potential to make this season memo­rable.

“I could tell right away, we had the pieces in place to be competi­tive,” Waller said. “The team needed structure. The program needed structure. Kids, no mat­ter what they act like, when they act like they like doing things on their own, they like having structure. They like hav­ing someone there to tell them what to do. My as­sistant coaches did an in­credible job of helping me bring that structure the program needed.”

After a 2-4 start to the season, St. Frederick went on a four-game win­ning
streak, highlighted by a 46-38 win over Class 4A playoff qualifier West Ouachita which was the true starting point for the program being back on the road to respectability.

“I think that day, when we beat West Ouachita at the Delhi Charter tourna­ment, was the day we be­gan to believe,” Waller said. “Our girls, I think, looked at that and said ‘OK, we can be pretty
 good.’” With seniors Emma Weems, Kristin Smith, and Yasmeen Labbab able to finish their high school basketball careers on a good note. The fu­ture behind leading scor­ers such as Amber Sell­ers, Megan Prudhomme and Rachel Augerson have the Big Blue Nation excited about things to come.

“I think we can do bet­ter,” Waller said. “I think the upside for the pro­gram is there. We just want to work hard, to get better and improve.”
 

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