by Cassie Mattia
Loveland, Ohio – As you walk the halls of Loveland High school it is not hard to feel the sense of community the students, teachers, and coaches have created! That sense of community doesn’t just linger in the hallways it’s also very present in both LHS’s academics and athletic programs. One athletic program, in particular, took that sense of community LHS created and implemented it into everything he and his team does. Darnell Parker, LHS’s head women’s basketball coach, wanted to keep that community mentality when he took over the team, but at the same time, he wanted that same mentality to set the women’s basketball program apart from all of the other athletic programs. That’s when #Ourway was created. This unique mindset has not only proven its success with the Loveland Women’s Basketball team’s win-loss record but has also created a lot of hype with all of the Loveland Tigers!
“OurWay started out as more of a tag line slash cool hashtag, but over time it became a way of life for our program! It started back in year 1 with Jenna Stanton and Madi McDermott,” Parker explained, “We had a lot of strong seniors that year, but those two really grabbed ahold of this team in the offseason and set the tone for how we were going to go about our business day in and day out! Like our community, we didn’t want to be like the Mason’s or the Lakota’s we wanted to be great the Loveland way, and that is where OurWay came from.“
The Loveland Women’s Basketball program celebrated a huge moment in history last Saturday winning their first ECC championship. The Lady Tigers finished the ECC regular season with a 13-1 record and a 19-3 record overall. And if winning an ECC title wasn’t enough for the Tigers, Coach Darnell Parker also celebrated quite the milestone this year reaching 100 wins.
This highlight reel was put together by Team Photographer Gayle Rothmeeler to celebrate Coach Parker’s 100th win.
“To be able to accomplish both of these milestones in the same season was unbelievable!,” Parker said, “But winning the league by far takes the cake! This is something that has never been done by Loveland in the ECC, and 17 years since the last league title of any kind in Women’s Basketball. Being able to see the absolute joy on our kids’ faces and from everyone in the crowd is what this is all about!“
Coach Parker, who from a very young age knew basketball was his passion, began coaching summer basketball camps when he was a senior varsity point guard at Findlay High School. Parker earned both all-league and all-district accolades as a point guard at Findlay High School. After Parker graduated high school he continued his stellar basketball career at Bluffton University where he played all 4 years. At Bluffton Parker was given the team captain role and was awarded best defensive player his senior year. Parker graduated from Bluffton with a degree in Business Management and immediately decided to get back into the game he just couldn’t get enough of.
Parker’s basketball coaching career started at Glen Este where he was selected to coach 6th-grade boys. For 9 years Parker successfully coached at Glen Este until Finneytown High School approached him with an opportunity to coach the Men’s JV team. While gaining experience in the men’s high school basketball circuit Parker again got an opportunity to coach but this time as the varsity head men’s basketball coach at Clermont Northeastern High School. Next on Parker’s superb coaching journey was at Clark Montessori High School where he took the position as the varsity men’s head basketball coach. At Clark Montessori, Parker made a name for himself and his team! In 2015 he not only won the Miami Valley Conference-Scarlet Championship he also was named Coach of the Year! While Parker coached at Clark Montessori he also coached AAU Basketball at Ohio Crossover Athletics gaining even more knowledge about the game of basketball.
Parker coached for 3 years at Clark Montessori before making the transition to Loveland High School as an assistant varsity women’s basketball coach. After almost immediately making a huge impact on the Loveland Women’s Basketball program Parker was asked to take the varsity head coach position in 2017.
Once Parker accepted the position he began working towards achieving the goals that he set for himself as a coach and the goals that the Loveland Women’s Basketball program had set as well. After 3 years of working towards some serious goals, this year Parker and his Lady Tigers not only grabbed their first ECC title ever in school history Parker himself also reached 100 wins and was named District 16 Coach of the Year! Parker said he couldn’t be more pleased with his team’s outstanding efforts this year and appreciates everyone that helped him get to this point in his coaching career.
“There have been so many people that have contributed to me getting to this point, but first and foremost I have to thank God because, without him, none of this is possible,” Parker explained, “My Mom and my Dad to this day are my biggest cheerleaders and have been great! My two girls Alexis and Madison have sacrificed a lot of Dad time so that I could pursue my passion and I love them unconditionally for that! And to the Loveland community, thank you for accepting me as one of your own! This community has wrapped their arms around me and this program, THANK YOU! Lastly thank you to the coaching staff, Samantha, Keith, Wray Jean, Brad, and Mike. This is a team effort and these guys put up with me every single day and we wouldn’t be where we are without them,” Parker added.
Coach Parker and his Lady Tigers have already taken the postseason tournament by storm grabbing their first win against Talawanda on February 13th with a score of 62-24. As if there wasn’t enough Loveland Women’s Basketball Tiger hype, Senior Jillian Hayes broke the All-Time Leading Scorer record, putting up 19 points for the Tiger win. Jilian Partin previously held the record with 1,356 points in 2005. Senior Kate Garry also holds an impressive record for the Tigers with the Most made 3 point shots in school history. This record was also previously held by Jilian Partin in 2005 with 65 made 3 point shots. Garry also holds the spot for the most 3 point shots made this year in the ECC.
Check out what these Lady Tigers had to say about Coach Parker’s 100 win milestone!
The Loveland Women’s Basketball team will continue their “journey to the tourney” Wednesday, February 19th against Lebanon at 7:30 PM at Lakota East High School