Girls basketball: Testa has big plans for Black Eagles
First-year South Charleston girls basketball Coach John Testa knew he had his hands full after the Black Eagles lost six seniors from last season's State Tournament quarterfinal team.
Testa had big shoes to fill as well, replacing Gary Greene, who stepped down after guiding SC to the State Tournament appearance in all four seasons he coached the team.
Despite a roster full of inexperience, the Black Eagle program continued to soar, improving to 4-1 after pulling away from Riverside in the fourth quarter for a 61-35 victory at Quincy.
SC led only 41-34 after the third quarter, but held the Warriors (2-4) to a point in the fourth - a foul shot from Cassidy Farley with 2:24 remaining.
The Black Eagles outscored Riverside 20-1 in the decisive quarter.
"I am still upset over losing to Parkersburg," said Testa, whose team won four straight since dropping its opener 68-56 at Parkersburg. "I think we can win every game as long as we play hard and do the things we are suppose to. We've won at Logan and Nitro, and Jefferson away from home."
Testa is very pleased with how well the team has responded early to the new coaching staff, and with so much youth on the court.
"All they have to is buy into the system," Testa said. "My system is easy, just give me effort. I can take care of the rest.
"The one thing the girls can control is effort and intensity. If they give me that, which they have, we will be good to go."
Despite losing all five starters to the highly successful program over the last four years that saw Greene manage a 90-15 record during that time, Testa isn't interested in the team rebuilding.
"I know the six seniors left, and their coach," Testa said. "But I wanted the job. I like the challenge.
"I knew they have great kids here. They played against those six seniors every day in practice.
"It's a different mentality but they are stepping up and understanding what they have to do.
"I want to take this program to the same level that Gary took it.
"He took it to the regional title, the conference title, and the state championship game. That is what this program is about."
Garretson, meanwhile, is in his first year as head coach at Riverside.
He assisted on the team that won seven games last year, second most in school history. He hopes to take the Riverside program to new heights.
"I told the girls one day we are going to beat one of these teams we aren't suppose to," Garretson said. "We are going to shock somebody. I don't want to put a number on how many wins but I expect to win every game. We are making strides."
Garretson has a solid cornerstone in Brittany Wood, who had 16 points to go along with 17 rebounds and six blocks. Wood, just a sophomore, has posted a triple double in two of the Warriors six games.
Taliah Cashwell led a balanced SC attack with 15 points to go along with eight rebounds.
Also for the Black Eagles, Alliyah Webb added 11 points with Lina Villanueva and Alexia Wade right behind with 10 each.