Like most new coaches, Jan Compton-Ouska endured her share of ups and downs. But few are feeling more satisfaction now than the first-year coach at Georgetown Visitation.
The private girls school in Northwest Washington, which had only two starters back from last year's 24-0 basketball team, recently defeated National Cathedral, 63-58, in overtime to capture the Independent School Athletic Association tournament for a third straight year. Visitation finished with a 19-4 record, giving the school a three-year record of 62-6.
"It usually takes a year or so to install your philosophy," said Compton-Ouska, who assisted Chrissy Reese (now an assistant at Navy) last year. "Fortunately, the girls knew me because I was here last year. Still, the girls had to adjust to me being the head coach, and I had to adjust to them. I put in a few new changes, more presses and a couple of zone offenses. Eventually, we got things together and began winning.
"Our outside shooting wasn't as good as it was last year so we had to move inside," she said, "and rely on the fast break. We had to build around our only two starters, Sara Strike and Mara Wach, and the other returning players filled in nicely. It was a good season and I felt wonderful about the success of the team."
Coolidge is enjoying outstanding success athletically this year. The Colts won the Interhigh League football championship in the fall, captured the boys basketball league championship and Sunday, defeated Gonzaga to win its first city championship.
The Colts' accomplishments marked the first time a single school had won both the Interhigh football and basketball titles in the same school year since Eastern accomplished the feat 14 years ago.
Coolidge's girls basketball team finished sixth in the regular season and was the sixth-seeded team in the tournament last week. Coach Mac Brown's team (12-11) upset both Ballou, 44-40, and second-seeded Wilson, 47-44, to gain its first tournament final berth, which it lost to No. 1-ranked H.D. Woodson, 68-27.
Coolidge Principal James Campbell is trying to build a first-class athletic program. The Northwest school's new athletic facility is expected to be ready in September.
The Potomac Valley Association will sponsor its annual Junior Olympics girls basketball tournament April 14 through May 11. There will be four age groups -- 12 and under, 14 and under, 16 and under and 18 and under. The Metro Club of D.C. is looking for players to fill out its 16-and-under roster. If interested, contact Coach Ellsworth Hart in the D.C. Recreation Department.