There are reminders of the greatness the Southside Mavericks achieved two decades ago — state championship team photos that adorn the wall at Southside Gym.
Then he sits down to peer over video of last season’s games. He’s seen them all.
Robert Brunk knows this is ground zero.
“We know there’s nowhere to go but up,” he said.
There’s an overall push at Southside High School to rebrand itself. That’s certainly true of the girls basketball program.
Since reaching the 2013 state title game, when they finished 22-9, the Mavericks have won just 30 games since 2013-14 — and 16 of those came in ’13-14.
The Mavs are 18-110 over the last five seasons.
Cross-town rival Northside, which set the standard for success over the last 2½ decades ago, is 129-21 during that same span.
Brunk, who signed on last spring to replace Steve Brown, is hopeful some new blood can generate some excitement by doing the little things right, such as protect the basketball and rebound.
“We met awhile back and talked about what a good team looks like,” he said. “Where we’re at right now has to be our lowest point, and every game from here on out we want it to be better than we were yesterday. We’ve talked about three things.”
Brunk pulls out a notepad. His players, on their own, came up with three things they’ve shortened to D-U-C-K:
“Good teams are determined!”
“Good teams are unified and united!”
“Good teams have good character; they communicate with other players, they acknowledge officials!”
“These are things the girls came up with on their own,” Brunk said. “Moving forward, we want to something from every situation.”
The Mavericks don’t talk about their current losing streak. Bu it’s there — 26 straight losses.
The team, 0-24 in Brown’s final season, opens the Brunk era today when Ozark rolls into Southside Gym.
“Obviously we want to win some games, but right now we’re trying to focus on doing better at the little things,” Brunk said. “Every day right now in practice we’re talking about getting better.
“It starts with taking care of the basketball and rebounding better.”
Shielo Laranjo, Sabrina Phonkhoumphon and Taylor Gist are among those Brunk is counting on early.
Newcomers Aleigha Johnson and Lauren Redding are also potential big pieces to the puzzle.
“Lauren missed all of last year with an ACL tear,” Brunk said. “I think she has a great chance to have a lot of meaningful minutes. She didn’t play in our benefit game but will play some against Ozark.”
Johnson and Ari Rice will be battling for minutes.
Brunk expects Laranjo to play a vital role offensively.
“Last year we averaged about 27 points a game, and we graduated a lot of offense,” Brunk said. “She’s going to have to be a leader for us. She’s going to have to play a lot more minutes than she did last year. She’s going to have a big load on her.”
Phonkhoumphon is a good defender, Brunk said. Gist saw time last season, and Sayira Reed is coming off a good off-season.
“We have some tough games early,” Brunk said. “But we’re going to get after it; we’re going to have effort.”...