The Sampson County Longshots, the Senior Ladies basketball team from the local area, recently won the State Championship in the 65-70 year old age group. The ladies qualified for the event back in March, by winning the Mid-Carolina Games at Methodist University.
They played and won these state games in Greenville at East Carolina’s student center gymnasium.
The team is composed of Becky Tyndall, Bevie Pope, Cathy McAlliaster, Dianne Cox, and Dianne Naylor. They were coached by Fred Holland, who has been coaching the Senior Ladies team since 1998.
“Some ladies got together a long time ago and decided they were going to play in this thing. They said they wouldn’t play anymore without a coach in 1998, so I decided I would do it,” said Holland.
The games are played in half-court sets, with changes of possession needing to be cleared behind the 3-point line. The game is played in two ten minute halves.
The Longshots won their first game on day one of the state final event, which put them into the championship game automatically. They then won the Gold Medal on the second day, defeating a team from Raleigh by a score of 19-12.
Holland praised the hard work of his team, mentioning how deserving they are of everything that they were and are able to accomplish.
“It is a lot of fun to coach these ladies,” he said. “I don’t tell them what to do, I ask, and they normally do it. It is a good relationship that we have, but I really don’t have to stress too much of anything. It is really cool to me that they are dedicated to the game so much. That in itself says a lot.”
The National games are only played every other year, and this is not a year for Nationals. Had it been, the Longshots would have qualified. They will hope to do the same next year, and make yet another trip to the National Finals, as they have played in in the past.