Briggs, Moore help lead Franklin County to 24-2 record
MEADVILLE — After her sophomore season, Franklin County High School senior forward Vintrice Briggs never saw her team lose a matchup in its region.
And Briggs’ abilities as a post player had a lot to do with that. This past season, she averaged 14.5 points per game, 9.3 rebounds per game and was a 76 percent shooter from the foul line. She was also selected for the MHSAA 7-3A All-Region Team, the All-South State Team and the Mississippi roster for the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star game.
Lady Bulldogs head coach Charles Moore’s squad only lost two games all season, and tallied a 24-2 record before getting eliminated in the second round of the South State tournament.
Because of their roles in leading Franklin County to such a great season, Briggs was selected as The Natchez Democrat’s girls All-Metro player of the year, and Moore All-Metro coach of the year.
“This is a great honor for me,” Briggs said. “I want to thank my mom and dad for their support and pushing me to do the best I can do.
“All the hard work has paid off, working with my dad on my dribbling, rebounding and post moves. He’s been really helpful, and my mom’s been really supportive.”
Moore also said it was a great honor to be recognized.
“There’s some excellent basketball in Southwest Mississippi, and to be selected (as coach of the year) really means that the team’s done a great job,” Moore said. “Without the girls having a successful season, I wouldn’t be here.”
Briggs said she set a goal at the beginning to the season to make sure she gave 100 percent on the court each game.
“All the hard work paid off,” she said. “It’s my last year, so I had nothing to lose. I knew if I worked hard, good things would happen.”
Briggs said while she may be undersized for a post player, her speed, quickness and game smarts allowed her to compete with some of the bigger players.
“I had to think big,” Briggs said. “I didn’t think of myself as undersized, I thought I was just as big as them on the inside.”
Moore said Briggs is versatile enough to play forward or guard, but that his team needed her at forward.
“She used her physical abilities to out-quick the other post players,” Moore said. “She played guard in the Mississippi-Alabama game, and she’ll be a small forward at the next level.”
And Briggs’ leadership wasn’t just on the court, Moore said.
“I’ve seen her grow as a leader, where she went from a person who outworked others to someone that gave us that little extra lift at the end of big plays,” he said. “She pumped her teammates up when things were down.”
But Briggs said her fellow seniors also deserved a lot of credit for showing leadership.
“They did a good job,” she said. “We had great teammates that had the will power to do things. It wasn’t really hard (being a leader), because it was more me giving sisterly advice.”
That will power is what allowed her team to have such a strong season, Briggs said.
“We worked hard the whole year, and if our offense wasn’t there, we were always there on defense,” Briggs said. “We always had good defense, and when we hustled, our defense turned to offense.
“That carried us if the other team was bigger than us. We moved around them and used our strengths to win. We always found a way to win together.”
Moore said this year’s Lady Bulldogs were a neat group personality-wise, and were a pleasure for him to coach.
“I enjoyed them,” he said. “My philosophy was to put pressure on offense and defense, and they bought into that — and they had to, because we’re an undersized group.”
Franklin County spent much of the season ranked No. 1 in 3A, but Moore said he didn’t put a lot of stock into that.
“It is fun for the kids to read that stuff, but they all know it’s decided on the court,” Moore said. “We’re in a very competitive classification, and (the rankings) go back to how the program has earned respect across the state.”
Moore’s abilities as a coach have a lot to do with that respect. He’s been coaching the Lady Bulldogs for nine seasons, and he was able to turn the team around just a year after his arrival.
“It’s been a great ride,” he said. “When I got here, we were on the tail end of a 28-game losing streak. We lost the first two or three games of my first season before our first victory, and that was the only year we didn’t make the playoffs.”
In his third season, Moore won his first regional championship. He has been undefeated in his region the past two seasons.
“I’ve enjoyed coaching here greatly,” Moore said. “We have a very supportive community and school administration, and most of all the girls I’ve had the pleasure of coaching have great character.”
And Briggs said she’s grateful to have been coached by Moore.
“He’s been a great coach,” she said. “He’s always given us motivational words before the game, and kept us in the game.
“He always told us what we needed to do and helped us like we were his own children. He gave us advice outside and inside the gym.”
Briggs is the daughter of Vincent and Stacy Briggs.