By Michael Kinney
The Moore American
MOORE — Rhonda Fields wanted back in. A year into her retirement from coaching, she was ready to get back onto the court.
There was only one problem. Fields didn’t have a job to go back to. After coaching for 30 years and amassing a 489-306 record at places like Jenks, Stillwater, Chickasha and Sulphur, she was back to square one.
“When I did retire and stayed out all last year, it just made me realize how much I missed it,” Fields said. “And how I really hadn’t put that much thought into it. I just thought it was the things to do and needed to do get moved over here. When the Moore job became available, I was already to the point where I was ready to be coaching again. I think it’s meant to be for all of us.”
Fields took over the girls basketball program at Moore after former coach Tim Gray was let go at the end of last season in which they went 3-20. That included an 87-19 loss and a 101-18 defeat at the hands of rival Southmoore.
The Lions hope those days are over with Fields now at the helm.
“Expectations are to get these wins out the way, to work as a team and to hopefully get far in the state championship,” senior Brianna Jones said. “The biggest difference is our new coach. She knows what she is talking about. She knows what she is doing. And then us communicating and bonding as a team.”
While those may be high expectations for a program that hasn’t won double digit games in more than a decade, Fields said this team has the potential to make a giant leap from cellar dweller to at least competing in games.
“I think I am coming in at a time where there are some good young athletes coming into this program,” Fields said. “We’ve got two seniors and they both have playing experience. Then the rest of our team is juniors, sophomores and freshman. I’ve already made the decision to bring up some freshman. We have a very large sophomore class. I have a pretty talented group of juniors. Allison Rodgers, she didn’t play last year. She is an extremely good athlete. Ashley Rhode, another junior, who has very good potential.”
Fields isn’t just looking to change the varsity squad. She wants to transform the feeder schools below MHS.
“Key will be fundamentals and consistency throughout the ranks,” Fields said. “Down in the junior high and bringing them up with an understand what’s expected in this program.”
One of the players who won’t have the opportunity to grow up going through Fields system is senior Amanda Patterson. She has been the focal point of the Lions since her freshman year.
Now, in her final year, Patterson is looking to lead Moore to their best season since she arrived.
“This season I’m really going to focus on being a scoring threat and defensive threat and just overall leader of the team,” Patterson said. “We can be one of the best teams in here if we keep putting in the work that we’ve been putting in. We can really be the Cinderella team nobody thinks we can be.”
Moore kicked off the season Tuesday be traveling to No. 7 Midwest City. It will host No. 5 Southmoore Dec. 10 in their first meeting since losing to the SaberCats by 83 points a year ago.
“I want to see some fight out of them right now,” Fields said. “That’s been our key in practices, building confidence. Putting them in situations and making them have to perform, react and do the things they need to do. As their confidence grows, their mental toughness should get better also. That’s some of the things I will be looking for is how well they handle pressure.”
Michael Kinney Follow me @eyeamtruth firstname.lastname@example.org