Singleton attempts to win as coach

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 17, 2003

She wore No. 14, played with her hair in a ponytail and was a key part of Natchez High’s 1993 state championship team.

But now Sonya Singleton is starting over.

There’s no state championship or playoff talk as her season winds down as head coach of Davidson High School in St. Joseph, La. The Lady Warriors are struggling and have just two wins in District 5-1A to their credit with two remaining.

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Singleton knows what it takes to play at a championship level. She also knows it’s going to take a while for her team &045; a unit that lacks a senior.

&uot;My team is young, but they’re coming around,&uot; said Singleton, in her first year as head coach and second at DHS. &uot;I know it’s going to take time. This year I’m working with the fundamentals. The skills are there. It’s just that before I got here there wasn’t a lot of attention on toward fundamentals. I have to keep fundamentals in every practice every day because they are so young.&uot;

The youth movement with the Lady Warriors is all about education. There’s some tradition at Davidson with a Sweet 16 banner hanging in the gym from seasons ago, but this generation of players doesn’t know what that’s like.

So in steps Singleton, who knew nothing but success in her four years with the Lady Bulldogs.

&uot;I want to have the experience with them,&uot; she said. &uot;It’s hard to explain. I try to teach them more and more. It’s a different feeling. I have to explain to them you have to earn that. I’m their mentor, teacher and coach. They’re not used to practices that are very hard working, but they got used to me.

&uot;I’m serious about basketball. There’s a time to have fun, but when I’m on the court I’m a different person.&uot;

The season has been totally different for Singleton, who is now in her second season at the school after taking a teaching job there during the 2001-02 year. She spent her first year helping out as an assistant but took the job when it came open after the season.

All that came after serving as an assistant at Natchez, following a four years of school and playing basketball at Tougaloo College.

&uot;When I first came out here, coaching was not on my mind,&uot; said Singleton, who still lives in Natchez. &uot;I came out and liked my first year of teaching. The year I taught, I was asked to just assist when I could. Then they were impressed. Then after she left, they asked me if I wanted the position. I decided to go ahead. It wasn’t a hard decision.&uot;

The hardest part was getting the team going in the right direction.

Slowly the fundamentals are coming into play, and their efforts are starting to pay off. The Lady Warriors posted wins over Delhi and Tallulah to move up into the middle of the district standings behind Newellton and Block.

&uot;Their attitude toward the game is different. They have confidence in themselves,&uot; Singleton said of her players. &uot;I’ve tried to build that all year long. They’ve had a lot of experience this year, and we’re going to go to camps and work a lot this summer. I’m glad for this year, but I can’t wait until next year.&uot;

Adam Daigle

is sports editor of The Natchez Democrat. You can reach him at (601) 445-3632 or by e-mail at