Dustin Terrel was the head girls' basketball coach at Olympic High for two years before taking a men's assistant coaching job at Belmont Abbey last year. When former Myers Park girls' coach Wes Hepler moved to the boys' coaching position this summer, he called Terrel to see if he was interested in the girls job.
Terrel didn't think he wanted to coach high school basketball after spending a year at the college level. Then he watched the Myers Park girls work out.
"I came, and I watched them work out, and I was like, 'oh yeah, I think I'll come back,'" said Terrel, 28. "This is well worth it."
Terrel, who was an assistant girls coach at Myers Park before coaching at Olympic, has a team that is loaded with talent. He says that eight of his players could be college basketball players.
"They come in here every day and work hard and that's the biggest thing," said Terrel, 28. "We've got so much talent that it's hard to balance. We've got to figure out who's going to play what position."
Terrel took over the job near the end of the summer. Before he officially started, he coached the Mustangs in the Blazin' Hoops Summer League. Myers Park beat private-school power Providence Day in the championship game, though both teams were missing some of their top players.
That was the turning point this year for the team, said Terrel. The Mustangs (18-9 last year) realized just how good they could be.
Myers Park, ranked No. 4 in the preseason Observer Sweet 16, is led by two sets of sisters: returning starters India (6-foot junior guard/forward) and Saadia (5-foot-8 sophomore guard) Timpton, and newcomers Roddreka (6-foot senior forward) and Rydeiah (6-foot-1 freshman forward) Rogers, the daughters of former Wake Forest and NBA forward Rodney Rogers.
Roddreka has more than 10 Division I scholarship offers and had to sit out last year due to transfer rules after moving from Arizona. Terrel said she is the first real post player that he has had in his five years of coaching.
"In this day and age, there aren't girls that want to play with their back to the basket," he said. "She wants to bang. That's what college coaches love."
The Timpton sisters each averaged more than eight points a game last year and will be huge factors for the Mustangs again this year.
Terrel said he likes having siblings on the team. They push each other to get better and help each other.
"They know each other so well, and they balance off each other," said Terrel.
Myers Park worked hard on conditioning over the summer, and Terrel wants to use that, pressing on defense and running on offense.
"I want 70, 80 possessions a game. I want to play fast," he said. "But of course, when we slow down, let's get it to Roddreka in the middle."
Leading the Mustang charge is senior point guard Brittany Smith (5-foot-5), a four-year varsity player who averaged 7.9 points and 2.5 assists last year.
"What she does is how we run the court," said Terrel. "If she's running hard, we're going with her. She's our leader. She's probably our fastest player."
Freshman guard Aliyah Mazyck, whom Terrel called his most athletic player, tore her meniscus before the season started but was cleared to play before the Mustangs' season opener against Garinger. Terrel said she is already getting college scholarship offers.
Latravia Roseman, a 5-foot-6 freshman guard, will also see time this season coming off the bench.
The Mustangs started strong with wins over Garinger (96-23) and Sweet 16 No. 15 Berry (50-38) in the first week of the season. The early wins are nice, but Terrel said the team has much loftier goals.
"We have high hopes. We see the big picture," he said. "All these games are just steps to what we want to accomplish. We're hoping to keep playing in March. That's our goal."