03/28/04 — Rosewood duo gets best effort from team

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Rosewood duo gets best effort from team

By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on March 28, 2004 2:07 AM

Rosewood girls basketball coaches Jerry Narron and June Hill shared a common vision when they took over a team without an explosive scorer or playmaker.

Still, they also knew they had coachable, athletic players who had a desire to win. Plus, competing in the top-heavy Class 1-A Carolina Conference meant Rosewood had to step up its own defense.

The plan worked.

Fueled by their own variety of full-court pressure defenses, the Eagles posted an 18-6 record and advanced to the second round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association playoffs.

"Before the season started, coach Narron and I decided that we were going take the girls to the next level," Hill said. "We were determined we were going to bring anyone and anybody in to help us do it."

Hill is quick to praise former basketball coach and Princeton principal Kenneth Joyner in helping the team learn how to effectively press. From there, Narron -- who is now at spring training as a bench coach for the Cincinnati Reds -- and Hill co-coached Rosewood to one of the surprise seasons in the area.

For these accomplishments, the pair have been named the 2003-04 News-Argus girls Coaches of the Year.

Hill was the "X's and O's" coach, while Narron handled most of the media obligations and structural aspects of the team before reporting to Florida and the Reds' camp after Rosewood's regular season finale at Princeton.

Their specific roles never interfered with each other -- actually, it seemed to simplify matters. The importance was that together they had the ability to lead and motivate a team that went 11-12 a year before and lost in the first round into a bona fide postseason threat.

"It's a lot of fun when you see athletes respond to what you are trying to do, and our girls did that," Narron said. "From day one of practice, we wanted them to play the game consistently, correctly and with passion. They had been beaten down in years before against some of those teams, and we did real well against them this year."

Eventually, both Farmville and North Johnston advanced to the Class 1-A eastern regionals from the Carolina Conference. The Eagles played neck-and-neck against those two teams all year.

Against non-conference competition, Rosewood knocked off 3-A opponent Clayton twice and won the Community Christian Christmas Tournament in Wilson.

The Eagles' only regular-season losses came against Goldsboro, Farmville Central and North Johnston -- all state qualifiers. Rosewood slammed Pamlico County at home in the first round of the playoffs before eventually falling in the second round at Midway in overtime.

Hill looks back at the successful season and believes the tough win at Kenly over the Panthers as a defining highlight.

"Beating North Johnston on their home court was the highlight of my season, because they are a tough team and they are always physical when we go there," Hill said. "Everybody took us for granted, and they thought the same team would walk in the door as last year.

"We were nothing like the team last year."

Next year, Rosewood will obviously miss seniors Shonda White, Nikki Strawn, Jennifer Boren and Sarah Ardes. But, they return a solid core of underclassmen, including both coaches daughters Jessica Hill and Clare Narron.

Carolina 1-A coaches look out -- the co-coaches will likely also return to the bench next season.