There is a reason that Maryville, Missouri, is considered to be Title Town. Whether it’s Northwest football or Maryville girls basketball, they share the same motif: culture.
Prior to coach Quentin Albrecht, former coach Grant Hageman left the girls basketball program to become an assistant boys basketball coach. After Hageman’s departure in 2013, Maryville hired former Bearcat women’s basketball sisters, Alexis and Candace Boeh, to take the reins of the team.
The former Bearcat duo stepped down after one year, leaving a vacancy open. After hiring Albrecht to a teaching position, Maryville approached him about filling the job.
“I was excited to do it,” Albrecht said. “They had won one game the year before, and I kind of like that kind of thing. Take something that’s broke and try and fix it as best you can.”
Former Activities Director Jason Kurz helped hire Albrecht during his last year at Maryville. Kurz successor, Activities Director Mat Beu, said Albrecht’s past experience and track record showed he had the makings to turn the unit around.
“He obviously had a lot of coaching experience. He’s been coaching as long as he’s been teaching, which is over 30 years,” Beu said. “Bringing in that level of stability from a veteran head coach is absolutely excellent, especially when your program is in a rebuilding phase.”
In the three seasons leading up to Albrecht’s reign, the Spoofhounds won only 13 games and did not record a winning percentage over 29 percent. Beu explained in his first years at Maryville he noticed a difficulty in attracting talent to the once-competitive sport.
“One of the struggles historically is that we just haven’t been able to attract kids to girls basketball,” Beu said. “There just hasn't been an interest level there, so that’s been an uphill battle for us. We’ve had some excellent female athletes, but they have focused their attention on the more established programs.”
When Albrecht took over, the first thing he instilled in his new squad was external discipline. The leader of the ‘Hounds wanted the team to develop “the ability not only to hear but to listen” as its second nature.
“If you watched the girls on film the last couple of years prior, there seemed to be a lack of discipline, with that a lack of intensity and a lack of hustle,” Albrecht said. “If you don’t have discipline, what do you have? That was the first thing we worked on.”
During the second year, self-motivation started to show up in droves. Albrecht explained that girls started to hold themselves more accountable and take pride in what they do.
In his first full season as coach, Maryville won eight games, and people were excited. Albrecht said that was hard to overcome.
“To me, 8-17 isn’t really something to jump up and down and celebrate too much about,” Albrecht said. “Considering where they’ve been, that was an improvement, and really the idea of having low standards was the toughest thing to deal with. There were really low standards for girls basketball, to tell you the truth.”
Now in his fourth year, Albrecht exposes the younger generation of hoopers to a team environment where they learn teamwork and cooperation along with basic skills of basketball set up the Spoofhounds for decades of success.
“What they do at the younger levels is really important to what we’re doing,” Albrecht said. “We knew it wasn’t going to be a quick turnaround time as far as getting a lot of wins. We knew it would be this year or next year we start really see numbers grow and things starting to change in the win column.”
This season, Maryville has put up impressive numbers. With sophomore Serena Sundell’s ability to have a record-setting performance on any given night, the Spoofhounds have tallied the second most wins in their district. Coming with wins is impressive showings in each of the three tournaments they played in.
“It has transformed the culture,” Beu said. “There’s been a bit of a gap there with youth girls basketball where I think some folks in the community are trying really hard to make that important at the developmental level.”
Now, for the first time in six years, Albrecht has Maryville over the .500 mark with hopes of not only getting to the district title game but taking home the grand prize.
Led by two seniors and a collection of sophomores, Beu said this team has something teams of past haven’t had: hope.
“They feel like they can go into any environment and compete well,” Beu said. “They can compete in the MEC. Their only loss is to St. Pius (X) … and I really have a good feeling about matching up against them in district play.”
Beu explained hope is something that hasn’t always existed in the girl's basketball program. Of course, everyone wants to win, but truly believing that you can be successful every time out is something that Albrecht has brought to the team.