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Arnold girl’s basketball team prepares for just third state playoff game ever

Published: Feb. 10, 2021 at 10:10 PM CST
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“PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) -The Arnold girl’s basketball squad is looking forward to just its third state playoff game ever. Coach William Woolf and the Lady Marlins are 15-9, finishing as the runner up in 5A-2. That puts them on the road Thursday night for a first round playoff game against undefeated Pine Forest. This just the second winning season for the Lady Marlins. And key to that success, the coach says, the play of two dual sport athletes in number 13, Karen Jones and number 22 Lexi Griffin, who are also stars on the Arnold soccer team, that is also in the state playoffs! They are at soccer practice at 3:30, right after school.” coach Woolf told me via Zoom this week. “They come to us at 6 o’clock, immediately following soccer practice, to try to get some reps in with us. Then there’s a soccer game Tuesday night, a basketball Wednesday night, soccer Thursday, basketball Friday. And not only are they able to just do all of that, they compete at just the highest level. They are both key stars and players on both teams, and a big part of the success of both programs. "

And those two aren’t the only keys to a winning season at Arnold. Coach Woolf says his is truly a close knit group of players, who really do love and care for each other in a special way.

“The girls really treat each other like sisters, they’re a family.” the coach says. “We’ve had just an awful year, not just with all the COVID issues on the team, but the girls have lost family members. We’ve had tragedies on the team. Throughout all of that, the girls are there for each other in a loving, supportive way. And I think in a competitive spirit that that shows up on the court, their fight for one another.”

As for winding up with a first round game against an undefeated Pine Forest team, 14-0 and ranked among the best teams in the state and even the nation, well that is something to take note of for sure, but not something coach Woolf says that should leave his girls beaten before they take the floor!

“Some unbelievable talent at that school, and phenomenal coaching as well.” Woolf told me. “So for a program that’s really just getting started like ours, our message to the girls is to play with no fear on Thursday night. We practiced and played the whole season to earn a state playoff berth. and we’re not just go lay down. So I think you’re gonna see a lot of fight. And I wouldn’t put it past us for this to be a tight ballgame.”

That game set for 7 o’clock at Pine Forest Thursday night and is one of several we’ll have highlights of in our late news Thursday.

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