Sometimes the most effective advice a coach can give is the one that frees up players to just do what most of them having been doing their entire lives.
At halftime in the Frankfort Regional title game, Liberty Christian was down 29-15. It looked like the Lions would stumble at the same exact spot for the third straight year.
“I couldn’t believe we played so badly in the first half,” said Liberty Christian assistant coach Mike Carey.
So what would Lions head coach Jason Chappell tell his players that could create a second-half turnaround?
“I told them they had permission to play basketball,” said Chappell.
Think about it for a moment — Permission to play basketball.
What did that mean exactly? To junior Quincey Hyatt, who scored six points in a 26-12 third-quarter rally, the message was clear. “It meant for us to do whatever we needed to do to win,” said Hyatt. “There was no way we were going home without this win.”
Hyatt was scoreless at halftime thanks mostly to some foul trouble. “I felt so bad,” said Hyatt. “I had two fouls and I missed the entire second quarter. I wanted so bad to go back in.”
When he went back in he made the Lafayette Central Catholic Knights feel bad.
In truth, there was a bit more going on at the halftime break than the permission to play the second half.
“My assistant coaches, (Mike Carey and Ryan Jackson) made some great adjustments,” said Chappell. “But what we wanted was for them to just go out and play basketball.”
And boy did they ever.
Lafayette came out of the locker room first with well over four minutes on the clock and looked like a team that believed it had already delivered the death blow to the Lions. But the Knights forgot that it might be the “Eye of the Tiger,” but it is the “Heart of the Lion.”