Pam Pack finding small victories in lost season

Published 7:27 pm Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Washington’s basketball season is lost. There are five games left on the slate for the Pam Pack to find any positives in the campaign. So far, its only victory came against a young Southside team in Northside’s Christmas tournament. The closest it has come to winning a 2-A Eastern Carolina Conference game was a 55-42 loss at home to Greene Central last week.

Head coach Ralph Biggs is persistent in communicating to the team that notable improvement — regardless of wins or losses — is something to take pride in.

“The boys are getting better. They’ve turned a corner and learned some things, but the record won’t show it,” he said. “We’re becoming a better basketball team. I’m pleased with the last three games and how they’ve worked.”

Before that Greene Central game, Washington was manhandled by Kinston, 85-39, at home on Jan. 16. The Vikings are out in front of the ECC and poised to make a long playoff run. The Pam Pack also competed at West Craven in a 71-57 loss on Jan. 12.

“We’re getting more disciplined. We’re learning to play more within our skillset,” Biggs said. “We try not to be heroes and play together as a team and for each other. That’s all you want as a coach.”

It’s a cultural change that Biggs is aiming for. Washington has athletes on its basketball team. There are seasons like this one where the absence of a reliable shooter is noticeable. However, that cohesiveness that Biggs has seen come along is among the most valuable a squad can possess.

Uriah Lawrence, a junior, looks for a lane to attack against Northside in December.

But that’s a characteristic that shouldn’t take nearly the entire season to develop.

Biggs said that this season has been tough on a number of Washington’s seniors. He highlighted the leadership and effort demonstrated by elder players like Isaiah Bailey-Pope and Thomas Edwards.

While wins have been tough to come by during their tenure with the Pam Pack, Biggs said they should be proud of the example they’re setting for the team’s future.

“For them, I’m sure it’s very tough. Since they’ve been here, it’s been a lot of losing,” Biggs said. “I’m trying to keep them in the fight and realize it’s not for nothing. It’s for your inner pride. You’ve got to play for yourself and your pride so that you can know you gave it your all.”

Of course, there is still something to play for. It’s a long shot if there ever was one, but Washington could win the ECC tournament and earn an automatic bid to the playoffs.

The tournament is in jeopardy, though. Some conferences in the state have already cancelled their tournaments due to time lost from winter weather. It’s not a stretch to say that one more winter-weather event may spell the end for the ECC tournament, thus dashing the Pam Pack’s last hope of a postseason.