Parker celebrates 200th win at Fort Dale
Fort Dale Academy girls junior varsity basketball coach Regina Parker hit a milestone this past weekend as she recorded her 200th win at the school.
Parker, a head coach for 15 years, holds an impressive 200-78 overall record at Fort Dale, though she also coached two years at Shiloh Christian School in Mobile prior.
Parker, who is in her 21st year as an educator at Fort Dale, and the JV Lady Eagles are no strangers to excellence, as she helped the team achieve three state runners-up titles in 2003, 2008 and 2015.
Parker said that she attempted to use her 200th win as a motivational tool for her players during the first round of the state tournament against the No. 3 seed Edgewood Academy.
“I had been keeping up with it, and I tried to motivate my team to give me my 200th win at the state tournament to make it a special day for all of us, because I felt like we had the best team there,” Parker said.
The heartened JV squad responded to her request with gusto, eliminating Edgewood in a thrilling first-round bout.
Unfortunately for Fort Dale, Parker and her Lady Eagles came up short–by as short of a margin as possible–in a one-point heartbreaking loss to Springwood in the semifinal round.
Despite it, Parker said that her players and their fortitude are the key ingredient to Fort Dale’s success.
“It was just being able to motivate the girls to play beyond their ability and beyond their potential,” Parker added. “And it was also about teaching the girls to play from the heart, and to give it everything they’ve got.”
Moreover, the lessons her players have learned should stick with them well beyond JV basketball, and well beyond sports in general.
“I’ve had players come back and tell me that they’ve learned to do hard things in college from the motivation that they received in basketball.”
Despite being cut just shy of championship aspirations, the FDA JV Lady Eagles look primed for at least an encore performance in the following year.
“We’ve got some young girls coming up,” Parker said. “I’ve got a seventh grader this year who contributed greatly to our team both defensively and offensively, and that’s Cahley Acreman.”
“Kaylin Gregory was our go-to girl all year. She scored 8 points against Edgewood and 9 points against Springwood. And she actually played in the junior high tournament with a hurt shoulder, and she just pushed through the pain because she knew this would be her last time at the JV tournament. She was our go-to girl down low, and most of our plays are designed around getting her the ball.
And Mary Katherine Salter rounded out the third pillar of the JV squad, despite suffering an injury at the top of the season.
Salter returned for the state tournament and was the third-most leading scorer in just her third game back from a broken foot.
But the story will continue for a number of JV players as they graduate up to the varsity squad.
“I try to motivate my girls and tell them that the head coach is always watching, and you never know when you might get pulled up to help contribute to the varsity level,” Parker said. So that’s something that they always strive to do.”