Derryl Britt says he has just one word for his dual coaching role.
Britt is both the varsity girls’ and boys’ head basketball coach at N.C. Science and Math.
He took over the girls’ program three years ago and was offered the boys’ position last year, after former head coach Anthony Myles was released two weeks before the season was to start.
There wasn’t time to hire someone for the girls and, frankly, they weren’t looking for a new face.
“They didn’t want me to leave,” Britt said. “And to be honest I didn’t want to give them up, either.”
The girls finished last season 6-17, while the boys went 11-14.
NCSSM is a prestigious and academically stringent boarding school for the state’s best junior and senior high school students. The two-year limit on player development and various semester breaks throughout the season makes it challenging to build a winning program. In addition, the school went from the 1A classification to 2A in the most recent N.C. High School Athletics Association realignment.
Britt decided to continue his dual role this season, he said, because of the outstanding support from assistant coaches’ Latasha Brown and Meg McDonnell for the girls, and assistants T.C. Marshall and Robert Allen for the boys.
“We have talent, but the biggest challenge to a program that’s been on the losing end is to change the culture,” he said. “And I couldn’t do it without my assistants.”
After losing two of their first three games, the girls’ team won three of four, including two straight over Kerr-Vance Academy and last Thursday’s 44-36 win over rival Raleigh Charter. Senior center Cheyenne Wall and junior forward Lindsey Bunch combined for 32 of the 44 points Thursday.
NCSSM’s Unicorns took an early 12-2 first-quarter lead and pushed the margin to 16 in the second period before the Phoenix made a run and outscored them 18-10 to trail 22-20 at halftime.
Raleigh Charter tied the score at 24 in the third before NCSSM pushed ahead 32-29 as the period ended. Wall and Bunch did all the scoring in the fourth to hold off the Phoenix.
Wall had a dominating performance of 18 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks, while Bunch added 14 points and four rebounds.
Britt said consistency remains the team’s biggest challenge.
“They have to maintain focus and not have lapses in intensity,” he said.
NCSSM cruises to boys’ win
NCSSM jumped out to a 12-0 lead and never looked back in a 60-38 rout of Raleigh’s boys team.
Senior center Justice Obasohan scored 20 points, pulled down 14 boards and swatted away four balls. Teammate Harrison Lee added 19 points, including three 3-pointers.
The win over Raleigh Charter was the Unicorns’ seventh straight and boosted the NCSSM boys to 7-1 before Tuesday’s loss to Durham Academy.
Britt said the difference between last season’s sub-.500 performance and this season good start is a summer get-together.
“Usually we’re at a disadvantage because the students leave for the summer,” he said. “But this summer we had a team camp for a week and the players got a chance to jell. The guys also dedicated themselves to off-season workouts and conditioning.”
NCSSM opens its conference season Thursday night against Durham School of the Arts. The girls’ game begins at 5 p.m. followed by the boys’ game at 6:30 p.m.
The DSA boys dropped to 4-4 recently after two road games against local basketball powers: losing 71-57 to Mount Zion and 87-41 at undefeated Orange.