Providing the right environment to properly teach the fundamentals of a sport and turn that into continuous success can be a tricky task.
For the last four years, coach Jody Quarles and the Model Middle School girls’ basketball team have been able to strike that perfect balance.
The team, which won its fourth straight Floyd County Athletic Association middle school championship on Saturday, has not lost a game since January 2013 and has become an important cog in the success of the Model High School varsity program.
“We preach to them that the harder they work now, the more it pays off in the future and high school,” Quarles said. “All of these great players in our area today were once great players on their middle school teams and worked hard there.”
The Lady Devils defeated Darlington for the FCAA title last weekend, winning 41-24 in the championship game of the FCAA tournament in Rockmart.
Kara Dunn led Model with 17 points, while Madison Harper had 10. Twins Madison Moats and Montana Moats scored five and four points, respectively, and Avery Quarles made a 3-pointer in the first quarter.
“It was a great team effort,” coach Quarles said.
But it’s five eighth-graders who have had a particularly special three years playing for the Model Middle School squad.
“It’s really humbling, but these eighth-graders have won 54 straight games,” Jody Quarles said. “It’s hard to imagine but they’ve done a good job keeping that tradition going and working hard.”
Brooke Roberts and MaryGrace Casey have been at the post for coach Quarles, while Leah McElveen became the team’s defensive specialist at guard, and Harper and Avery Quarles have helped keep their offense flowing.
The group came up through the youth recreation leagues and were coached by Jody Quarles since they were 8 or 9, he said.
“Those five have been together for years,” coach Quarles said.