Obtained from Cleveland.com
on January 13, 2015 11:00 AM
BRUNSWICK, Ohio — Brunswick girls basketball coach Halle Lengal is in a place very familiar to her.
The fifth-year coach is on the bench for the same team she played for when she was in high school.
As of Tuesday, Lengal has her Blue Devils playing well with a 9-3 record. Despite an 0-3 slide, Brunswick is a team to keep an eye on.
Lengal’s team has been about defense, with only five opponents scoring 50 points on Brunswick this season.
Q: What first got you into coaching basketball?
A: “I obviously enjoyed playing it throughout high school. I had my first opportunity actually through AAU, with Smack. I really liked working with kids in general. I’m a teacher as well, so I really like working with kids. In basketball — enjoying the game as a player — (as a) coach, you get to use all aspects. I like the mental aspect of the game, the strategy it takes behind it.”
Q: What does it mean to be able to coach at your alma mater?
A: “It’s a very, very cool experience. I feel like I’ve never left. I’ve been able to contribute in so many different ways down there. I love the people and the players that obviously I now get to coach. It’s just a great community. So it’s awesome to be able to give back to the people that kind of helped get me where I am today.”
Q: Who is your role model as a player and a coach?
A: “Well I’m a huge Duke fan, so Coach Krzyzewski’s a big one that I’ve always watched growing up. As far as players, I was a 3-point shooter when I played. So JJ Redick was one of my big players I used to watch when I was younger. As far as a pro, kind of the standards, was Michael Jordan. I always watched the Bulls when I was younger. I liked those high-profile teams. But I also enjoyed the coaches and how they approached the game on both levels on those teams.”
Q: What has your team done well to start 9-3?
A: “This group is basically the same group that I had last year, which always helps. But for whatever reason, this group molds together really well. They get along really well. They listen, they’re eager to learn. This is one team that they never give up. I know we have three losses, but in those three losses, we’ve competed at a very high level. I don’t feel like in the 12 games that we’ve played, we’ve had any letdowns. Even though we’ve lost, we’ve learned from our losses. And that’s important. When I got into coaching, I always wanted to be able to look back and say that my teams played really hard and they competed in every game at a high level. And this group does that.”
Q: What is something that most of your teammates probably wouldn’t know about you?
A: “They kind of caught onto it. I’m really superstitious. Three years ago, we had a good season. Three years ago, we were 17-7. We went on a 13-game winning streak and I do things the same. I’ve always been like this as a player and as a coach. Every day is the same for me. I prepare for every game in the same way. And I tried to hide it from them because I didn’t want them to go crazy. But they started to catch on and I think I see some of those tendencies in some of my players too of like, (it’s) got to be the same every day.”
Q: Is there a coaching memory that stands out above the others?
A: “There’s been a couple of key wins along the way. Beating Medina for the first time when I took over was a big one for us as a program because they had won the conference a couple of years in a row. And for us to be able to win at their place, that was, now going on three years ago when we were able to do that, an exciting moment that will always stand out. Being able to get to the district finals my first year as coach was really exciting. We’re still on that roll of kind of getting to districts every year. So I pride myself on that is making sure that the team plays really well as the season goes on.”