Vincent coach works to upgrade girls basketball locker room

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

VINCENT – When Vincent girls’ basketball head coach Stephanie Ledlow set out to build her team some new lockers, it started as a project to help her team have a fun place to not only get ready for games but hangout.

And while that’s exactly what she created, with the help of the Shelby County Schools and several of her fellow teachers and students at the school, it turned into a program-changing upgrade.

“I wanted to help do something nice for the girls after I saw what coach (John) Hadder did for the boys a few years ago,” Ledlow said. “Before, the girls didn’t really have a place to put stuff. All they had were P.E. lockers, which couldn’t fit all of their stuff.”

When the new locker room was unveiled to the players recently for the first time, each player walked in and immediately pulled their phones out to film all of the remarkable changes, while shouting “Whoa!” in disbelief.

Now, the lockers not only have space, they have three roomy compartments of space. There is a closet type area that allows the girls to hang their jerseys on a rack, while also leaving room for shorts and warmup cloths to rest on a seating bench under.

Below that is a storage compartment that closes at the bottom of the locker, while the top holds an open storage area for their shoes and other belongings as well.

“I really like the new locker room, and to have something to ourselves and not have to share it with anyone is amazing,” said freshman Ke’Aerria Lykes. “I feel like the new locker room will motivate us. It’s really nice and even though it took some time, it was still a big surprise to actually be able to say we have somewhere to put our stuff without worrying about it.”

Most exciting for the players might be the plaque that slides above each locker and has the Vincent “V” logo, the player’s name and their number to signify that it’s solely their locker.

“The name plaques are cool and the lockers have a place where you can sit and put your things in the bottom,” eighth grader Abby Wright said. “Our teachers did so good on the locker room and coach Ledlow was here weekends and weekends, and it paid off.”

After Hadder renovated the boys’ locker room, the girls started voicing their interest in an updated locker room as well.

“They were jealous that the boys always had a place to go,” Ledlow said. “Now, they feel really proud to have these cool looking lockers. It’s a cool place for them to go and hangout.”

Ledlow got to work looking around the locker room and noticed the showers in the back weren’t being used, which led to her contacting the school board for the first step of the process.

“I asked them if they could come in and take the showers out and frame up some walls,” Ledlow said. “They came in and did that and added new floors, cut off the plumbing, put in power and heat and air.”

From that point, Ledlow got to work on building the lockers that would fit the space of the room.

“I found the design I really liked, but knew it was going to be a lot of work to cut the panels out exactly the way I needed to,” she said. “That’s when I remembered our art teacher Clint Green had a CNC machine.”

A CNC machine, or a computer numerical control machine, is a 3D wood cutting machine that helps with forming different designs.

“He (Green) was all about it because he wanted to learn how to use machine,” Ledlow said. “I told him what I wanted, so we drew it out and designed everything.”

Not only did Ledlow already know how to use the tools and machines necessary to do the work, which allowed her to come in on the weekend and work on cutting out different portions, but Green got to use it as an art project for his class to work on as well.

“I’m really proud of coach Ledlow and all of the people that helped build the locker room,” eight grader Makayla Smith said. “Since I have many years of high school left, I’m looking forward to getting to be a team in the locker room that I’m going be in for several more years. I really appreciate it and love it. Thank you to coach Ledlow and all the people that helped.”

With a collaborative effort, they were able to finish the lockers to complete the transformation.

“They really love it,” Ledlow said. “It’s something we need to take pride in. I talked to a lot of the younger girls about upkeep because this is something that is really special to our program.”

There is also a TV already in the locker room and Ledlow hopes to still add a refrigerator and some other fun items to make the area a fun space for the players to hangout before and after both practice and games.

Ledlow also said the hope is eventually to start watching film in the locker room as well.