SEMINOLE — Phil Farver came to Indian Rocks Christian 20 years ago to start the girls basketball program. He had all kinds of teams in 19 years, and when asked how this one ranks he does not hesitate.
“Best team I’ve ever had,’’ Farver said. “I’ve never had as much depth or talent as this team has.’’
And he has likely never had a more motivated bunch.
For the past two seasons, the Golden Eagles advanced to the region finals only to be stopped by Community School of Naples both times. With most of the team intact, Indian Rocks Christian, and especially its five seniors, have only one goal.
“State championship,’’ senior shooting guard Jessica Logemann said.
On paper, that doesn’t seem like a far-fetched goal. Aside from Logemann, seniors Tori Trador, Savannah Armstrong, Kristen Scholl and Seminole transfer Amber Frounfelter provide plenty of talent and experience. Throw in junior center Rachel Boyette (6-foot-3), Caroline Shelton, a transfer from Tennessee, freshman twins Brooke and Hayley Morten and 6-foot-1 freshman Kristen Lovelace, and Farver’s job looks easy.
“There’s not a ton of teaching that I have to do this year,’’ Farver said. “I just have to manage the team, manage the egos.’’
IRC is off to a good, not great, start. In a preseason game against mighty Clearwater, the Golden Eagles lost 49-48 after being called for a foul at midcourt with two seconds left. That was followed by impressive wins over Boca Ciega and Tampa Catholic.
Then came a 49-45 loss to Academy of the Holy Names. This weekend, the Golden Eagles will be tested again in their Thanksgiving tournament, which includes Clearwater, Tampa Catholic and Sarasota.
With years of experience playing with each other, and sometimes against each other in AAU games, the Eagles don’t mind facing tough competition. They believe they can hang with anyone.
“We know each other so well,’’ Trador said. “I know where they’re going to be on the court and they know where I’m going to be. We’ve played together for so long.’’
That continuity, along with the experience, has brought some attention from opponents.
“I’ve noticed more coaches in the stands watching us,’’ Farver said. “That tells me that they think we are pretty good this year. It also tells me that we have to bring the A game every night.”
Indian Rocks found that out against Holy Names. But an early-season loss isn’t going to bother the Golden Eagles. A loss in February, when the state tournament rolls around, would be much more devastating.
“This year is so much more important to us than any other year,’’ Logemann said. “We’re not satisfied with last year. We should’ve beaten Community School. We’re cranking it up big-time this year.’’
Local girls basketball tournaments
Lady Barons Thanksgiving Classic
Where: St. Petersburg Catholic
Friday: Boca Ciega vs. Riverview, 6; St. Petersburg Catholic vs. Gibbs, 7:30
Saturday: Gibbs vs. Riverview, 6; St. Petersburg Catholic vs. Boca Ciega, 7:30
Indian Rocks Christian Thanksgiving Classic
Where: Indian Rocks Christian
Friday: Clearwater vs. Tampa Catholic, 6; IRC vs. Sarasota, 7:30
Saturday: Loser’s bracket game, 6; championship, 7:30