Girls basketball: Parkins and Buffalo have strong start under Ball
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Jamie Ball has left his mark on high school athletics over the years.
Ball coached baseball at Buffalo, softball at George Washington and boys basketball at Nitro before landing as an assistant to Brandon Bias at Buffalo in 2009.
That's where he remained until last January, when fate presented Ball yet another coaching opportunity.
When Bias resigned his post for an out-of-state employment opportunity, Ball took over the program in his fourth sport and third school of his coaching career.
After finishing last season 12-13, things are looking good in Ball's first full season in charge.
Buffalo is 2-0 heading into Tuesday night's road contest at Van.
"I've been around most of the girls for at least two years now," Ball said. "We know each other. I know if they're having a bad day, you've gotta lay off of them and give them a little space.
"Knowing the girls has definitely made a big difference in the transition."
Another key aid to the transition is the abundance of experience on the court for the Bison.
Buffalo returns four starters, led by Chelsey Parkins, a Class A All-State third-team performer last season while averaging 13 points per game.
"She's pretty tough," Ball said of Parkins. "She's really versatile. She can step out and hit the 3 if she needs to, she's got a good mid-range jumper and she works real well on the post. She's just a workhorse. She doesn't get tired and she does everything that we ask. If we told her to stand at midcourt and do jumping jacks, she's going to be standing there doing jumping jacks.
"She's a really good player to coach."
Other returning starters include senior Tiffani Bailey, junior Paige Roush and sophomore Olivia Dunn.
Last season's top reserve, Katie Allen, also returns.
"We have four returning starters and our first girl off the bench back," Ball said. "She played as much as anybody last year, so it's good to have that chemistry.
"They've played with each other for at least two years and that helps a lot."
Other contributors for the Bison are senior Amber Cochran, sophomore Courtney Allen and freshman Michaela Lewis.
"They're hustling and running through our offense like we're looking for," Ball said. "I think we're going to come around. If we start hitting some shots we'll be alright."