With her it-takes-five coaching philosophy and a no-worries approach to developing the Lady Cougars basketball team, first-year coach Baylee Robinson has her team off to a solid start.

Don’t worry– be happy?

“I’m just trying to preach about improving with each game we play. I’m not worried about the score; I’m not worried about if it’s a win or a loss. I’m worried if we’re getting better. So far, we have been getting better, and you can tell because in the games where we’ve gotten better, the outcome has always been on our end,” Robinson said.

With a lack of height, the Lady Cougars must depend on caring for the ball, creating turnovers, and using their team speed to its best advantage. More than anything, Alamo Navajo will need to learn to play fast while being in control.

In the games where the Lady Cougars have struggled, they have also gotten into foul trouble. Playing on the edge of control can also lead to injuries.

“In Mescalero, at one point, we’re only playing with five. In one of the games, we played the whole second half with five girls. We had two injuries. One of the girls was in foul trouble,” Robinson said.

The Lady Cougars are figuring out what their coach wants from them. Still, there are some struggles with pressing on defense where Alamo needs to create turnovers.

“We’re very undersized. So, you must box out, you have to be willing to push out, and we have some girls doing that, and they aren’t worried about, oh, I have to average 20 rebounds,” Robinson said.

The Lady Cougars have bought into Robinson’s coaching culture, and it’s showing up on the scoreboard.

“Scoring-wise, we’re having at least three or four girls each night that are there scoring, and it’s spread out,” Robinson said. “We had Kaydence Apachito this week[1]end, who hit five threes against Mescalero. That’s huge because suddenly, they’re worried about her, and then Sapphira Sandoval comes down, and she hits her shot.”

Robinson’s first year follows the best-ever season for the Lady Cougars, who went 21-7 but suffered a shocking 46-40 loss against Dora in the first round of the Class A state tournament. Maintaining intensity on the court and the sideline will be necessary for the Lady Cougars, who had a reputation for being too quiet last season.

Robinson wants her bench to be fiery, and she feels it’s an important tool for maintaining momentum.

“It’s actually when we’re doing really well that they just start relaxing. I had noticed when we’re getting beat, the girls were cheering the entire game, whether it was bad, whether it was good,” Robinson said. “But I have noticed we’ve gotten quieter when we’re up. It is hard when you’re up because you’re like, ‘Well, we’re up’. I’m trying to get them to understand that sometimes it hurts us. Building that momentum is hard if you let it drop off.”

The 2023 Alamo Navajo Lady roster is made of Marshayla Herrera, Kah-Liyah Vicente, Valeria Cheney, Sapphira Sandoval, Tisha Mexicano, Alvina Apachito, Kaydence Apachito, Shaylaysha Guerro, Claire Apachito, Katelyn Stockham, Alexandra Jake, Layla Apache, Tiana Apachito and Samara Guerro.