Lake tabbed area’s top girls coach

Published 11:38 am Saturday, March 28, 2009

By By BRIAN HAINES, Sports Writer
CHOCOWINITY — He’s been to the top and saw what it’s like to be called a champion. He’s dealt the adulation from fans and the satisfaction of success, and if he gets his way Bill Lake will bring all of those things to things the Lady Seahawks basketball team.
In years past a statement like that might have sounded funny at best, sarcastic or mean at worst, as its been a long team since the Southside girls have experienced any kind of success on the hardwood.
This year, the prospect of winning was real, and thanks to the leadership of Lake and the infusion of young talent, the Seahawks had one of their best seasons in quite some time.
The Southside coach learned what it takes to win, and how to prepare to succeed when he was a freshman on the 1974 NCAA national title-winning N.C. State team that featured Hall of Famer David Thompson.
After the 1975 season, Lake transferred to Miami of Ohio to play for what was then called the Redskins.
It was at this smaller program where Lake would figure out how to win with less, and meet what he calls his basketball mentor in coach Darrell Hendricks.
The key to Hendricks’ teaching was that he not only showed players how to do something, but told them why they were doing it.
It was an approach that Lake would bring to Southside, and one that prompted him to be named the Washington Daily News Basketball Coach of the Year.
The hard work has paid off. Only a six-win team last season, Southside improved by nine games to finish 15-9 and place second in the Atlantic Conference.
The Seahawks’ third-year coach said that a getting back to basics approach helped turn the program around.
Lake said when he was hired to coach the Southside girls, he knew he was building from the ground floor up.
Even the best coaches will tell you that a team can’t win without talent, but that wasn’t a problem for the Seahawks this season.
Southside has had quality athletes for the last few years, as evident by the school’s success in volleyball and softball. However, this year the program had basketball players.
The Seahawks have lacked at the point guard position in recent times, but this year fielded two up and coming ones in freshmen Katisha Hyman and Chante Painter.
Hyman, the starter, had a spectacular season and was very instrumental in the team’s turnaround. Painter played well off the bench, and wasn’t afraid to take big shots at key moments for the Seahawks.