Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Coach Keeps Focus on `Reachable Goals' Lady Panthers Playing Hard, Getting So Close, Still Looking for 1st Win

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Coach Keeps Focus on `Reachable Goals' Lady Panthers Playing Hard, Getting So Close, Still Looking for 1st Win

Article excerpt

Mark Redburn isn't concerned with wins and losses these days. His focus is on smaller, more reachable goals.

"I thought we'd have a win by now, but it hasn't worked out that way," said Redburn, the girls basketball coach at Fort Zumwalt North High. "The girls have played hard and we've come close - we've lost one-point games to St. Charles West and Lutheran North and our game with Washington was closer than the final score indicates - but we realize we have a long way to go.

"They say the hardest win to get is that first one and that's certainly been the case for us. We could really use a win to ease some of the pressure. These girls aren't used to winning, so when we're in a tight situation, you can just see them thinking, `Oh no, here we go again.' "

Redburn, 27, took over the North program at midseason last year when coach Les Grimes stepped down for medical reasons. The Panthers dropped their final 23 games of the year, finishing 1-24 overall and 0-8 in the Gateway Athletic Conference.

"It's a program that's down - they've only won six games over the last two seasons - but I'm confident we can turn it around," said Redburn, a 1986 graduate of St. Charles West who coached the Warriors' freshman girls for two years before accepting a teaching position in the Fort Zumwalt School District last year.

"It's a challenge, sure, but we're going to work hard and we're going to do everything we can to get the program headed in the right direction again."

And that's where the small victories come in.

"Instead of focusing too much on the wins and losses, we have to look to other positive signs of progress," said Redburn, whose team is 0-7. "Maybe it's the fact that our defense has been improved or that we make seven of eight free throws in a game. But each of those small steps is progress and that's what we're looking for."

Redburn continued: `The girls have been terrific; we're working hard, putting in a lot of extra time and doing everything we can to improve the situation. But it's not going to happen overnight."

Redburn credits athletic director John Waters and the North administration with being especially supportive in these trying times. …

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