TAPPS Playoffs: Second Baptist School punches ticket to fourth-straight Final Four
HOUSTON - The next time you see John Herndon, better known as "CH" around the Second Baptist School campus, ask the veteran coach what word he would use to describe his women's basketball program run of success.
He won't use dynasty after the Eagles punched a ticket to the TAPPS Final Four for a fourth-straight season on Saturday with a 66-44 victory over St. Michael's but rather "consistent".
"We are really right now getting better here in these last three weeks," Herndon said. "There are three areas to get better in. There is individual skill development, second is chemistry amongst players and third is team organization ... Hard work comes disguised in overalls, you just have to put them on and do your work every day and stay focused on the long-term goal you're trying to reach and that's what we're doing."
Olivia Sauvageau ('24), who started at point guard for the Eagles a year ago as a freshman, led the team with 22 points on 7 of 9 shooting from the field and 2 for 5 from three-point range in the win on Saturday. Kate Marshall ('23), who Hernon refers to as "Queen Kate" of late went 6 of 12 from the field for 14 points.
Jazlynn Williams ('24), who is starting to come into her own on the court, netted 12 points, while Ella Ryan ('23), who Herndon refers to as the "energizer bunny of the team", poured in seven points in the win and Olivia Walker ('23) had six.
As this group pushes into the TAPPS Final Four the majority of this team experienced the big lights of this stage and playing in the TAPPS 5A State Championship a year ago. Now, they've had a year more of games to improve since the last time they stepped foot on the court at this level.
But for Herndon these relationships and implementing his system is years in the making that pays off in March of each year.
"It's really fun," Herndon said. "It goes to the core of what I'm all about, which is relationships with kids and families. I love my little feeder school, which is Second Baptist. I get to work with young ladies down through first, second and third grade and instill with me at a younger age the skill required at the high school level."
Now, Herndon turns his attention to the State Semifinals and potentially a third-straight trip to the TAPPS 5A State Championship game next Saturday.
Herndon, who has helped prepare teams at the high school and collegiate teams for big games, will dig into his bag and prepare like the great John Wooden prepared his squads.
"I've always been true to myself that really what I want to do is to prepare young men at the college level or now these young ladies to skill them up and prepare them up for situations," Herndon said. "I still do that. Being a basketball coach, I do know that I have to know the opponent. I was influenced deeply by years of John Wooden because of coaches that he had worked with and I knew those coaches. His way was to prepare for situations that may occur.
"I really love focusing on us. What are we going to do, then the opponent if they are worried what we're going to do then that might give us a bit of confidence? Maybe an advantage. But I will go to the office and prepare for the next opponent. Never make a mistake that I'm trying to prepare our young ladies to play to their potential."
Second Baptist School will face Geneva School on Thursday at 8:30 pm at Robinson High School. If the Eagles win, they will advance to the TAPPS 5A State Championship game on Saturday at 2 p.m. at West High School.