When Thomas Jefferson girls basketball coach Bob Peck went to his bench, he didn’t take a plunge into the unknown.
Instead, the Lady Jaguars coach knew he was likely to see positive results from his deep team, which could be considered a rare gift in Class A.
Thomas Jefferson used that depth to make it to the GISA Class A state championship game. Peck’s leadership was a necessary part of the run, making him The Augusta Chronicle’s All-Area Independent Girls Basketball Coach of the Year.
“We had a 12-person roster, and we played 10 every night,” Peck said. “Our depth was important. The kids practice hard knowing they’re in every game.”
Peck, 67, and the Lady Jaguars won their first three state playoff games before they fell to power Crisp County in the final. The long run dwarfed the previous season’s performance, when Thomas Jefferson lost in the first round.
This season’s depth made its presence known in important games. In a 32-28 semifinal win against Fullington, Thomas Jefferson got 17 points from its bench while Fullington didn’t get any.
Peck, who also coaches track, said the early morning weightlifting schedule is the staple of the program. He also said the practices were sometimes more competitive than games, which meant Thomas Jefferson was more than ready for any close contest.
Knowing all that, Peck didn’t have any issues going to the ninth- or 10th-grader off the bench. He expected and often got what the team needed.
“Basketball is the ultimate team game. With our depth, we could run and press more – We stayed fresh,” Peck said. “It was a good year.”