The Haley Hackett era at Northwest Guilford is off to a good start.
The first-year girls' head basketball coach has guided her team to a 12-2 record against a challenging nonconference schedule.
Along the way, her Vikings picked up some hardware - claiming the CresCom Bank Holiday Invitational title in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and defeating Page, Greensboro Day and Ragsdale to claim Greensboro's HAECO Invitational title. Both tournaments were in December.
That's all been a warmup to the all-important Metro 4A Conference part of Northwest's schedule, which begins Friday at High Point Central (0-14).
"The most impressive thing to me is how hard they're playing right now," Hackett said of her team. She credits the team's senior captains Reagan Kargo, Thalia Carter and Megan Harkey for their leadership and work ethic.
Hackett, who played college ball at Appalachian State and spent the past seven years assisting Northern Guilford's girls head basketball coach, Kim Furlough, figured she had the talent to bring home a winner. But she said she wasn't sure what to expect from them.
"They're adjusting to a whole new coaching staff," Hackett explained. "They've done a really good job."
The Vikings' two losses came at the hands of highly rated out-of-state teams. They dropped a lopsided 77-36 decision at Princess Anne of Virginia Beach, which earlier in the season was ranked in MaxPreps' top 25 nationally; the team is currently ranked second in Virginia.
Last week the Vikings lost 51-48 at the buzzer to undefeated Hebron Christian Academy of Dacula, Georgia, in an Atlanta tournament.
"They're great teams," Hackett said of Princess Anne and Hebron. "But our girls fought for 32 minutes. That's what's going to make the difference for us in the long run."
Looking at the conference schedule, two of the five conference teams have winning records at this point: Northwest and Ragsdale. Both are sitting at 12-2. The rest of the conference teams are struggling. Grimsley is 3-7, Page is 2-12 and High Point Central still seeks its first win.
Northwest and Ragsdale's Tigers have already met this season, though not in conference play. The Vikings downed the Tigers 52-30 last month for the HAECO crown.