Entire career has been at Central High
By Mark Clark
Earlier this year, Central High coach Carolyn Wright was informed she will be inducted into the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s Hall of Fame next March. She was ecstatic over the honor. But, she was even more pleased with a milestone she reached this past Saturday night in Seale when her team defeated Russell County to claim the 500th victory of her career – a basketball coaching career that has been spent entirely with the Lady Red Devils.
Central defeated Russell County High’s Lady Warriors 65-23 to give their coach her 500th win.
“I really wondered if it would come against Russell County on Saturday with the way we played. The game was at 6-6 most of the first quarter. We did not start to pull away until late in the first. Then things started going in our favor,” Wright said.
But, when the game was over, Wright felt much differently.
“It has been a long road to get to this point in my career. To win 500 games is special. I could not have won that many games without the help of a lot of good coaches and a lot of good players. They are the reason I have made it to 500 wins,” Wright said.
It takes a long time for a coach to reach 500 wins. Wright did not think she would reach the number at Central.
“To tell the truth, when I started my career here, I thought I would go 25 years and then move over to Georgia and double dip. That never happened. Things were just so good and things happened that made me want to stay here past 25 years. When I throw in the towel, I want to do it right here at Central High,” Wright said.
In the game with Russell County on Saturday, the two teams played a close contest through the first quarter. Central led 12-9 after the game was stuck at 6-6 for a while. In the second quarter, Central started to pull away from the Lady Warriors and led 29-13 at the half. They outscored Russell County 17-4 in the second quarter. The third quarter was also another big eight minutes for Central as the Lady Red Devils outscored the Lady Warriors 30-5 to take a 59-18 advantage. Central scored six points in the final quarter and Russell County scored 5 in the fourth quarter.
Morgan Ficklin led Central with 14 points. Eryn Johnson had 11 points for the Lady Red Devils.
“Overall, we have been playing good defense. I think our scoring was well-rounded as all but two of our players scored. So far, we have had balanced scoring in our games. We are also not doing a bad job rebounding. We really have not had a dominant player as far as rebounding goes, but we have had a lot of rebounds spread around,” Wright said.
Wright says her biggest task at present is to decide her team’s identity.
“I have been trying to figure out what type of team we are going to be. I have five girls that can push the ball up the court for fast breaks. I have five more that are more comfortable playing a half-court game. I am going to see what I can do to make their identities work,” Wright said.
Central will be at Spencer High Friday night and will return home on Saturday to play host to Northview High of Dothan.