From heartbreak to victory; MCHS girls' basketball team dedicates historic win to late coaches

Published: Feb. 28, 2020 at 6:35 PM EST
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The Martin County High School girls' basketball team snagged a win Thursday night for the 57th District Championship.

This comes during an up-and-down season after losing two important pieces of their Cardinal family.

"That was one of our goals," said Robin Newsome. "I feel like I've been on a roller coaster since I took the job."

Coach Newsome stepped in after the previous head coach, Tim Rice, died.

"This win just made everything come together. I can't really put it into words," said Newsome.

After about 25 years of coaching, Newsome said she had never experienced a season quite like this one.

"We lost two very important people that have worked with this program for a long time in Tim Rice and my very best friend Pam Maynard," recalled Coach Newsome.

There are only eight months between the two losses.

"It was really hard at the time but I think it really pushed us to work harder," said senior Kristen Isaac.

She said this loss knocked them down, but not out.

"I think Coach Rice and Pammy, they've been watching us all season," Isaac pointed out.

This is a historic win, as it was the first Martin County High School girls' basketball 57th District Championship victory.

"Sometimes on the court, I can hear what they would say. It's like I can hear them screaming. I just never give up because of them," said senior Madison Thompson. "They were sitting in the best seats in the house with overwhelming joy."

She said this win is bittersweet. She recalled a moment when she realized they won.

"I like, felt this overwhelming calming like, they would be so proud of us and I just started crying. I just sobbed. It was such a great feeling," explained Thompson.

Isaac said throughout this season, she and her teammates believed their beloved Coach Rice found a way to let his girls know he was still there.

"They found one of Coach Rice's stopwatches going off in the storage closet," recalled Isaac.

After closer examination, the girls realized no batteries were in the stopwatch.

"Every home game we've had or big game, the watch goes off," Isaac continued.

The team hopes to continue writing their story in memory of their biggest supporters.

Next, the team will play in the 15th Region Tournament.

It is set for Monday at the Appalachian Wireless Arena in Pikeville.