Aldie, Va. — From the opening tip to the final whistle, Tatiana Galindo gives her team consistency: consistent scoring, consistent hustle, and, most importantly, consistent leadership. That’s exactly what the John Champe Knights are looking for out of their senior point guard, especially in a season that’s already seen a tremendous amount of change.
From not knowing if they’d even have a season, to following new COVID-19 protocols, to a first-year head coach, the Knights have been fortunate to have a poised and consistent floor general who’s able to get it done on both ends of the court.
And Galindo didn’t disappoint when John Champe hosted rival Freedom on December 30, leading the way with 20 points and 4 steals, as the Knights dominated the second half, defeating the Eagles, 49-19.
“[Tatiana] is becoming a huge leader on the court. She’s so passionate, and she’s in such great shape,” first-year John Champe head coach Thomas Watson said. “This kind of opportunity to lead the team without a coach micromanaging you is going to allow her to become the player she’s going to have to become in order to play college ball.”
Watson—who served as the Knights’ varsity assistant last season—said the new coaching staff put in a brand new system, including a new offense, new defenses, and new inbound plays, and that his team is starting to put all of it together.
“In a very short two-and-a-half weeks, we put an entirely new system in,” Watson said. “That takes a lot of time where instead of tweaking things, we had to start from ground zero.”
After falling into a halftime deficit, Freedom clawed its way out of the hole to start the second half as sophomore guard Grace Farra drilled a three-pointer early in the third quarter to make the score, 19-15.
“[Freedom is] mostly freshmen and sophomores,” Watson said. “So hats off to them to come in and play as hard as they played and go 100 miles per hour.”
Unfortunately for the young Eagles, Galindo knocked down a three on the other end then junior guard Peyton Hoffman hit another just a few seconds later to reopen the John Champe lead to 25-15.
From there, it was all Knights as John Champe closed the second half on a 30-4 run.
“In the first half, I thought we were pretty lazy,” Watson said. “But in the second half we rose to the occasion.”
The most noticeable advantage John Champe had was at the charity stripe where the Knights converted on 17 of their 27 attempts while the Eagles went just 4-for-8.
Led by junior forwards Lexi Armstrong (8 points, 8 rebounds) and Jordyn Wilson (2 points, 10 rebounds), the Knights also cleaned up in the rebounding game.
The Knights have high expectations in 2021, but for now, they’re taking it one game at a time while focusing on gelling as a team.
“Right now, we’re just trying to come together as a team,” Watson said. “A good thing about a win like that is the kids are starting to buy into the program.”
John Champe Stats