Yvette McPherson’s name still hangs boldly on the wall of the Washington School gymnasium for a reason. Now the head girls basketball coach for the Lady Generals, McPherson was an All-State player in high school when she graduated in 1989. Longtime followers of the program say she was one of the best to ever play for the school.
McPherson’s son Peyton, a star senior on this year’s Washington School boys team, never saw her mother play basketball in high school, of course, but through the years he has learned why she is still so highly regarded. Especially when it comes to shooting.
“I have never beaten her at a game of HORSE,” Peyton said with a shake of his head. “I have tried many times, but she always wins. I definitely want to beat her soon.”
Coach McPherson has two sons that play basketball for the Generals. Along with Peyton, her son, Luke, is an eighth grader on the junior high team. A big reason why she took the coaching job during the offseason was to be closer to her two sons, she said.
Through the years, Coach McPherson has instilled a love of the game of basketball into Peyton and Luke. She has taught them that they can only improve through hard work and practice.
Coach McPherson and Peyton showed their dedication this offseason when the two woke up at 5 a.m. every morning to work out at the YMCA. While Coach McPherson’s basketball playing days are over, she is now an accomplished tennis player. She has even been to Palm Springs, California, a number of times to play doubles in a national tennis tournament.
“My mother taught me that if you want to achieve anything in life that you have to work really hard at it,” Peyton said. “I love having her around here all the time now. After the games, she always tells me that I played well and how I can improve.”
So far this season, both Peyton and his mother are enjoying success on the hardwood. This season Peyton has become one of the key players on the Generals varsity team and is averaging more than 12 points and 12 rebounds a game.
McPherson’s girls team, meanwhile, is also showing steady signs of improvement. After each game, McPherson encourages her players that they can still achieve all of their goals this season.
“I consider the girls on the team my girls, and I am proud of them for working hard and the improvement they have shown,” Coach McPherson said.
Two of McPherson’s main players this season are seniors Jordan Hays Middleton and senior guard Abbigail Jennings. Players like Meg Giachelli, Louise Word, Sloan Lackey, Leanor Warrington and Lane Walker to be key contributors.
Whether they are her McPherson boys or her Lady Generals, Coach McPherson always expects great effort. Just don’t challenge her in a game of HORSE.