Garnet Valley Girls Varsity Basketball Coach Joe Woods Reflects On The 20-21 Season Thus Far

By Ben Hoyt

Coach Woods is an accomplished coach with no dispute. Multiple District 1 and PIAA state playoff appearances, District 1 champion, PIAA state championship runner up, and having just hit his 300th win on Febuary 9th, 2021 versus Lower Merion, he is at the top of his game. Even with the vast success of Garnet Valley girls basketball under Coach Woods, this year had felt a little different. After bit of a shaky start for the Jaguars season, the team recollected and went on a massive winning streak. This interview between me and Coach Woods happened after a rout against Upper Darby:

Coach Woods takes a picture with former Garnet Valley Girls Basketball player Emily McAteer after setting the school scoring record

Hoyt: So Coach, the team has really had a resurgence since the start of the season where it got a little rocky, what do you think was really the cause of bringing this team together and getting a lot of wins over the past few weeks?

Woods: Well, I think we are on a 4 or 5 game winning streak, and I think it is the girls work ethic and the pride that they have and the character. They really took it upon themselves to continue to work hard and not give up, and not say “Ugh we are just going to give up and just forget about this season.” As crazy as this season is with COVID, I give them a lot of credit. They are working really hard, particularly  the senior leadership and our senior captains, keeping everyone together and I am really proud of them.

Hoyt: Let’s talk about this game versus Upper Darby; this was a dominant game all day. What really sparked the offensive train tonight?

Woods: Well, I think it has a combination of our players just taking it upon themselves even though we have had weather scenarios and missed a couple practices. A lot of them came early and were in the back gym working out, getting their shooting in and what not, and their selfless and unselfish play looking for each other is huge. All of our players look out for each other and one of the things we say before each game is “Make your teammates look better than yourself.” It’s not about you it is about the team.

Hoyt: The team hit a little bit of a roadblock in scoring during the game, you were up 16 at the half and then Garnet Valley really put the petal to the metal at the end. What really helped get Garnet Valley out of that scoring drought?

Woods: Well, we had a little bit of a scoring lull in the second quarter so you make a good observation. We always talk about at halftime that the first two minutes of the third quarter is like a separate game, each quarter is like a separate game but particularly 2nd half it is like the start of a brand new game. So you can lose the game in a quarter, so you gotta take charge and do not let the team (opponent) off the hook and get momentum, so we really emphasize that, and the girls responded and started the third quarter in a strong fashion.

Hoyt: My final question is about our next game. What lessons from this game do you want to take into our next game?

Woods: We are really looking forward to our practice tomorrow, our game on Wednesday on the road against Radnor and that definitely will be a bigger challenge. Radnor is a very good team. So we want to take this success and our previous successes with us on the road to Radnor as we are getting close to the conclusion of the season.

Garnet Valley won that game against Radnor that was mentioned. Garnet Valley Girls with their loss to Springfield is in a position where they need to win at least one out of their last two to make the PIAA district 1 6A tournament, losing both will make it very difficult to qualify for districts. Garnet Valley is currently 7-6 with games against Marple Newtown Harriton and Marple Newtown. Both Harriton and Marple Newtown are above .500 for the season as Harriton and Marple are back to back in the District 1 5a rankings, 3 and 4 respectively. Garnet Valley is 23rd in the District 1 6a rankings, and the top 24 make the playoffs.

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