January 23, 2020 11:00 p.m. UPDATE: GLEN DANIEL, WV (WVNS) — Word broke last week, Friday, January 17, 2020 that the Liberty High School ladies basketball season was canceled for the remainder of the season.
Four former players came forward to talk about what happened and so did their coach, Denise Arline.
The basketball court is a place players call a sacred place, a place where they can let their stress and emotions out. However, players on Liberty High School’s girls basketball team said they felt it was doing the opposite. Hannah Lilly said she felt like she was in an unsafe environment.
“We were portrayed as quitting because we have lost so many games but in reality we felt that we weren’t safe in the environment that we were in and all the time we were just being belittled by the people we were supposed to look up to,” Haylee Lilly said.
These girls say they felt like their sport was being taken from them because of the way they were being coached. They said they felt like quitting was the only option.
“A part of me has really just been taken away from me and I couldn’t do anything to stop it,” Haylee Lilly said.
Freshman Hannah Lilly was one of the team members that didn’t quit and said if she did she would face consequences in the upcoming season.
“I didn’t quit because I was told that if i did quit that I wouldn’t be able to start any other year that I wanted to play nor be able to be back on the team,” Lilly said.
Part of being an athlete is building a relationship with a coach and forming that mutual respect for one another. These girls say those elements were lacking. Faith Davis felt like the respect for the players just wasn’t there.
“We are brought up to respect adults but I also know there is a way to receive respect from adults as well and we weren’t receiving that,” Davis said.
When Head Coach Denise Arline was asked about players that quit returning to the team next year, she told the girls she didn’t know what would happen.
“When they asked me what would happen next year I said I don’t know. I don’t know what is going to happen next year. It’s hard enough to deal with what is going to happen tomorrow,” Arline said.
She said she feels strongly she did a good job uplifting the girls while they were on the team.
“I’ve never been mean to these girls I have never put them down I have never even yelled at these girls.” Arline is hoping to move forward from here, “What has happened in the past has happened and we let it go.”
GLEN DANIEL, WV (WVNS) — Some disappointing news out of Liberty High School, their girls basketball program has been canceled for the remainder of the season due to the lack of players.
Athletic Director Jim Workman describes this situation as sad and unfortunate, “Low numbers to begin with, we only had 9 young ladies that wanted to participate and then we lost one to grade casualties and then we had some that decided to quit,” Workman said.
He is hoping that next year they have a larger turnout at tryouts and that they are able to complete a roster.