West Lincoln head coach Jaime Honbaier has quite a hectic day today, but she would have it no other way.
Honbaier woke up at 5 a.m. this morning to make a three-hour trek to attend a conference necessary to complete her lateral entry to become certified as a high school teacher.
The conference begins at 9 a.m. and will last until 2 p.m., then Honbaier will grab lunch and head for Troutman (two hours away) where sheâ€™ll coach the Lady Rebels against host South Iredell in the Southern Piedmont Conference tournament championship.
â€œIt was almost dream-like. Words can not express how awesome it was to get a win, especially at this time in the season,â€ Honbaier said of her teamâ€™s victory over No. 2 seed North Lincoln Wednesday night.
When asked what has made the difference, as trite as it may sound, the Rebels have just believed.
â€œTheyâ€™ve just been doing the things Iâ€™ve known they could do all along and itâ€™s finally started to come together,â€ Honbaier said.
To say the Lady Rebels are playing red-hot basketball would be a severe understatement as theyâ€™ve reeled off eight of their last 10, with their last loss, ironically coming at the hands of the Lady Vikings.
Playing the likes of South Caldwell and Fred T. Foard didnâ€™t allow the Rebels to get off to a fast start. From the outside looking in, it appeared they were mired in another losing season.
But upon closer inspection, thatâ€™s why there is a non-conference season and a conference one. After beginning the season 1-5, Honbaier told them to start the Southern Piedmont schedule fresh and that they had an opportunity to do something they havenâ€™t done at West Lincoln in quite awhile, which was to make the playoffs.
Did the message sink in right away?
â€œIt did in a way. We were kind of down and out after losing the first conference game to North Lincoln. Then after the first win against Cherryville, a little confidence was gained,â€ Honbaier said. â€œThey finally started realizing, â€˜Hey, we might can do this.â€™ She added.
So does the new-found success and 14-11 record feel like a dream?
â€œIn a way, it does. Wednesday night really felt surreal. It was like we had reached something we had dreamed about all season long,â€ Honbaier said of the first time her team had beaten the Lady Knights in four tries.
While Honbaier may not be sure of the exact moment everything clicked, she is sure she wouldnâ€™t have been able to get there without the support of her faculty, led by Mitch Sherrill, parental support and her assistant coach Tom Sain.
â€œHeâ€™s been a predominant figure in a lot of offense and defense. He gives me some ideas I donâ€™t normally think of,â€ she said. â€œSometimes, I have my mind set on one thing and he can give me another option. We work well as a team,â€ she added.
Honbaier has a good feel for her teamâ€™s pulse and she knows what they need to do tonight to come away with a victory.
â€œWe have to come out and have all the elements together. We have to out-hustle them, rebound, do the fundamental things and everything else will come together.â€
by John Mark Brooks