Coach of the Year: Adversity fails to stop Lenahan’s Lady Hoyas
MDJ Sports Writer
Apr 28, 2017
During his time as Harrison’s girls basketball coach, Steve Lenahan has taken the program to newfound heights.
The Lady Hoyas reached the state quarterfinals in 2012 and ’15, and they posted 23 wins last season with a region championship appearance. But it was this past season where Lenahan has enjoyed the most success.
Lenahan led Harrison to 26 wins and an appearance in the state championship game for the first time.
For leading the Lady Hoyas to their best season in program history and reaching new heights, Lenahan is the 2016-17 Marietta Daily Journal/Cobb County Girls Basketball Coach of the Year.
“There a lot of great coaches in Cobb County, but all the credit goes to my players,” Lenahan said. “I been doing this for a while now and I know that you don’t earn these kind of awards if it wasn’t for them.”
Harrison lost its season opener to eventual Class AAAAAAA runner-up Norcross before going on an 11-game winning streak. That including victories against two out-of-state opponents at the KSA Events Holiday Classic in Orlando, Florida.
“We earned some good victories during that run,” Lenahan said. “At the beginning, we were still working on small details, but we were able to get on the right track.”
Harrison also overcame injuries to such key players as Sydne Wiggins and Harper Vick midway through the season, but the Lady Hoyas found a way to finish with a spotless 16-0 record in Region 6AAAAAA.
“Losing them was tough, as we lost two of our three best players,” Lenahan said. “We didn’t make much changes as we had depth in our team.”
Harrison also had to overcome the adversity of starting the state tournament as the No. 2 seed, after coming up short against Creekview in the Region 6AAAAAA championship game.
“Our defining moment came last year when we lost in the second round of the state playoffs,” Lenahan said. “We expected ourselves to go further, so we set up a tougher schedule coming into this season. Another defining moment would be the loss to Creekview in the region championship. We came out hungrier after that game.”
After beating Dacula in a first-round home game, the Lady Hoyas were on the road for the rest of the tournament, defeating Tucker, Douglas County and Northview — all region champions — on the way to the state championship game. The road then ended the final, in a narrow 52-51 loss to Mays
Harrison will lose four players due to graduation — including Sydne Wiggins and Avery Jordan — but it is set to have eight players return next year, including key contributors Harper Vick and Audrey Jordan.
“I have high expectations for them next season,” Lenahan said. “I’m not sure what their expectations are for next season, but I know they are competitive and want to win.”