South Medford head coach reflects on 13 years with girls basketball team

MEDFORD, Ore. — An Oregon high school basketball team is making a run for playoffs with one of the best records in the state.

But it hasn’t always come so easy to the South Medford Panthers. About two years ago, they lost a 100 game winning streak. Now, the South Medford girls basketball team is trying to reach that mountaintop once again.

“Our senior was a part of our last season when we had finished 100 straight conference wins in a row,” Head Coach, Tom Cole said.

They’re in the gym almost six days a week for two hours at a time to get there again. While they’re reminded every day of their lofty goals this year. Tom Cole has been the team’s head coach for thirteen years. He built the program. It hasn’t always been easy, but about two years after a 100 game winning streak, the team is back amongst the best in the state.

“As little girls when they were coming to the South games you know and we were hanging up banners every year,” he said. “They were a part of that so they were also part of a new kind of change.”

South’s team is young this year but that doesn’t matter to these hardwood warriors who’ve dreamt of wearing the panther blue and white. At 15-2, they’re one of the best teams in the state and like with any young team, they’re a work in progress.

“Are you consistent? Do you do those things every day? That’s the sign of a good team, and we’re not there yet,” he said.”It’s still a daily, weekly reminder that there are still things we need to do better.”

Cole pushes his team. The practices are grueling and the competition is even tougher. As much as Cole is teaching his team to win, the lessons the girls are learning will take them far beyond the gym.

“As they transition into life, I want them to accept nothing but the best,” he said.

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