Larry Price doesn't just sweat. He liquidates. And not in a change-into-cash kind of way.
Price is the bouncer-sized Florin High School girls basketball coach who can work himself into a lather during warmups. If it's a tense contest, like Wednesday's key Metro Conference game against No. 8 Kennedy, the forehead moisture comes at a full drip.
Here's how Florin ace rebounder Daijah Joe-Smith explains it: "It's because we're teenagers."
Teenagers growing up fast and learning their roles and the game in general.
Joe-Smith and her mates used a 10-0 run to open the second half to spark a 53-38 victory for the No. 9 Panthers in south Sacramento.
Joe-Smith is a 5-foot-7 junior forward who scores on the baseline like a guard with quick bursts, and she snares rebounds with purpose. She had 12 points and 16 rebounds to lead the charge.
Florin junior guard Deja Conger led all scorers with 20 points, almost twice her average, and had four three-pointers as Florin exhibited a devastating inside-outside game. Jordyn Bell had seven points and 11 rebounds for Florin, while Dalayna Sampton had eight and 10.
Lynette Johnson had 13 points and 10 rebounds for Kennedy, but the stellar junior had no field goals in the second half as she was swarmed and surrounded by foes determined to slow her. Even with the game in hand, Price was in motion coaching, barking, pleading for maximum effort.
Throughout every game, Price's wife, Cindy the team's scorekeeper provides fresh towels for the coach's bald dome. She even made him two in Panthers school colors.
"Coach wants what we want to get better," Joe-Smith said. "I want more. We always want more. We're never satisfied."
Joe-Smith epitomizes the team's overall impact on the school. In addition to fielding Florin's best team since the dominant clubs of the mid-1990s under coach Shannon Gasper, Panthers players sport excellent grades, too. Joe-Smith has a 3.5 grade-point average and is taking courses such as physics and calculus.
Florin (19-5, 8-3) was able to avenge a 53-51 loss to Kennedy (17-7, 9-2) and can continue to strengthen its Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoff seeding with more wins.
"We're starting to really come together," Price said. "Conger and Joe-Smith have been with us since they were freshmen, and they're tenacious. Our team work ethic is very good."
Kennedy coach Dave Parsh said his team could not match up with the longer, stronger Panthers inside.
"They're so big, and it was hard for us to get anything around the basket," the coach said. "Big picture-wise, we're in good shape for the playoffs. We feel Division I is wide open."