When Joe Packard took over as the girls basketball coach at Heritage Christian, the program was struggling a bit. His hope was relatively easy to comprehend, he wanted to provide stability to the program which he anticipated would lead to success.
That seems to be the way things have worked out for the Eagles and he's hoping that this can be the year the team makes a deep Class 2A playoff run.
"It had to be a culture change," Packard said. "We were living right on the border of being a 1A or 2A team. One year we went to state at 1A and then the next we were there as a 2A team. Most good programs and most good teams would say it takes time."
It seems that each year, the Eagles play at the level of championship contenders only to stumble in the state tournament. This year, Packard is hoping that his girls will get gel at the right time and make that deep playoff run that he knows they're capable of.
Kali Siemers is fifth in the state regardless of classification in scoring. She's scoring 24.2 points per game and is the offensive focal point of an Eagles team that is off to a 7-0 start to the season.
They're also getting big points contributions from Avery Hughes at 17.7 points per game and Savannah Brown at 11.5 points per game. Brown is also the top rebounder in the state, pulling down 15.5 boards in each game that she plays in.
Everyone on the roster has a role and each playing understanding their role is what makes the Eagles a dangerous team as the postseason inches closer.
"We talk about that all the time, everybody having a role," Packard said. "Like (Tuesday) we just played Dayspring Christian and Kali had a real rough start. SHe fouled out in the third quarter and Savannah ended up scoring 17, but then Avery went and scored 26. What's special about this team is that if someone is having a rough time, someone's right there to fill the void."
That's what he's hoping can happen when the postseason rolls around. Last year, the Eagles were one win shy of advancing to Loveland for the 2A Great 8. The year before, they reached the tournament as the No. 7 seed, but lost in the first round.
After seeing what his girls are capable of this season, he's hoping that they can find the playoff success that's evaded them in recent seasons due to the 2A field being traditionally strong.
"There are so many good teams out there," Packard said. "Any given week, every team is dealing with a number of different variables that anyone is capable of winning a title. I don't know why we can't be in that mix."
If they continue to play at the high level they've played at this season, it's not far-fetched to think that they'll be right there.