After leading Vicksburg High School girl’s basketball team to 21 wins in the 2021-2022 season, Troy Stewart has been selected as the Vicksburg Daily News Girl’s Basketball Head Coach of the Year.
Over the last few years, the Missy Gators have become a brand name in women’s basketball by knocking off the majority of their opponents and making a deep run in the playoffs each season.
Stewart, who recently wrapped up his fifth season as head coach, quickly helped VHS become one of the top teams in 5A. The Missy Gators advanced to the third round of the playoffs after going on a nine game winning streak midway through the season.
“I was excited with the finish and getting as far as we did but I was kinda disappointed at the record because we had some games taken away from us due to forfeit,” Stewart said.
VHS only lost a total of five games on the court this season, but were forced to forfeit three games due to COVID-19.
Over the summer, VHS participated in out of state tournaments in preparation for the upcoming year which paid off greatly. Stewart made many changes before the season which tested his team’s athleticism.
“The tournaments were a part of our preseason preparation but during the season our weight program and offseason conditioning was a lot different because I already knew we could play but I just wanted us to have our bodies right,” Stewart said.
All of the preparation that Stewart and his coaching contributed heavily to Missy Gators’ successful season. The future is still looking bright for VHS, even though they are losing one starter, Destini Sims, who played a key role for the Missy Gators.
“Losing her is going to be hard to fill those shoes because she was that one piece that wouldn’t let anything fall apart, Stewart said. I’m excited for the future and I know how good we can be but I have to keep them together and focused and helped them understand that we haven’t reached that goal yet so we’re gonna have to keep working on getting better.”
Stewart’s selected for this award is the second time in the last three years due to his great leadership style and ability to show progress within his program.
”I’m extremely appreciative and it just shows the work that my staff and I have done and we’re grateful but all honesty we wouldn’t have been able to do it without the ladies so it’s an award for them too,” Stewart said.
Stewart was assisted by Valencia McFarland and Deatra Cable who put in much work with the team, helping to secure the district title. Although Stewart is the face of the Missy Gators’ program, he knew everything wouldn’t be possible without his great support system.
“Nothing would’ve happened without the support of my wife and kids because they’re without dad and husband for months at a time because I’m really focused on what we are doing,” Stewart said. Dr. Hyland and all of the administration have been behind us along with the city of Vicksburg because everyone came out to support these ladies.”
Under Stewart’s leadership, the Missy Gators not only succeeded on the court but also in the classroom. They were acknowledged as a scholar team for having an above 3.0 GPA.
Now that Stewart has wrapped up his fifth year as head coach of VHS, he is preparing his team for another great season.
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