CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Science tells us that a vacuum is a space without matter, a void.
When something or someone leaves your life, you are left with a void and an emptiness.
Last year, Monacan high school graduated one of the best basketball players Virginia has ever seen. Megan Walker was a three time state player of the year and along with teammates Alex Parson and Jaiden Morris...three straight state championships.
Because they were so good and had played together for so long...head coach Larry Starr's job was a bit easier.
"It got easier to the point that i'd tell them if they hustled, we'd end practice earlier and we did all that," Starr said.
"This year is completely different."
What do you do when you lose the greatest player your school has ever seen? If you're the Lady Chiefs, you keep on winning...just in a different way.
"This year, practices went back to the way they used to be. 3 hours long, 2 hours 45 minutes long," Starr explaine. "There's a lot more instruction going on."
"I called Jasmine and said 'You didn't tell me he was crazy!'" said sophomore guard Kaira Winston.
"Last year, we didn't really run a lot. This year, the first practice we were ripped into. I was not ready for that."
But something has happened since those first practices. The Lady Chiefs have won another Regional title and are back in the state tournament for a fourth consecutive year. 8 seniors graduated from last year's squad that went 83-5 while winning three straight state titles.
This year's team has succeeded in their absence and done it their way.
"Everyone thinks that because all those seniors are gone that we're not good and we're not going to win anymore," Winston said. "I feel like it will surprise a bunch of people."
"Last year, I didn't talk that much," added senior forward Ajah Alexander. "I just listened to everyone else talk. I was more immature also. This year, I had to be more mature. It's really completely different."
"It's their team. They take pride in their team," said Starr.
"It's a good group of kids. I've had a lot of fun and I think we're going to surprise people."
The Lady Chiefs are just three wins away from a fourth straight state title. They face King's Fork HS out of Suffolk in the Group 4 state quarterfinals.
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