Growth Is Key For The Girls Basketball Team

Mike Mandell, Sports Editor

Although the girls basketball team has seen many down-to-the-wire fourth quarter games, their ability to win when it counts has been the highlight of the season.  With the addition of zero hour conditioning, the girls began the season ahead of the game and in shape.

“The fitness level is at a all time high, physically mentally we are about as tough as we’ve been and girls can play a ton of minutes,” girls varsity head coach Stephen Kolodziej said.

Despite being a fairly young team with mainly juniors accounting for the majority of the roster, the team has already seen more success than the previous season.  The girls have tripled their wins from last year and also added three more conference wins, according to Kolodziej, the players have high expectations for individual and team growth.

According to Kolodziej, the team is excited after each win and it’s clear that their hard work has paid off. The girls have taken a different mindset to the sport, and they have a much more serious approach before games. They are taking more accountability by being straightforward with each other.

“On the court is very different from off the court,”senior captain Jacqueline Bickhaus said. “On the court we have to focus on accountability and off the court we can all be friends again.”

One major factor in their current successes has been the ability for some of the younger players to step up at the varsity level. According to Kolodziej,  this is the first time the girls have been able to play against kids their age.

“We had four freshman up and two sophomores and now those four freshmen are juniors and the two sophomores are seniors”, Kolodziej said.

Now that the season is a little more than two thirds of the way through, the girls are trying to prove to the community that they are in it to win it. The team is currently prepping for the playoffs.  

“Winning a playoff game would definitely make a statement. We’ve been trying to prove ourselves, and that would say something,” senior Sammy Hansen said.

The girls have been led by junior leaders Alyssa Ramos, Kendra Lee, Megan Fottenta and Macy Floro, and they’ve had some close calls winning at the buzzer at Meadows and also winning at Prospect and Hersey on senior night. The team still has a few games left to create some more big moments.

“We’ve always talked about how we are the ones driving and we determine our own destiny that we have to work even harder because we know that we are going to have a target on our backs now,” Bickhaus said.

According to Kolodziej, the team knows  that they have to work harder than other teams to succeed down the stretch.   The girls take pride on their defense and turn those deflections and steals to points on the other end. Additionally, they make the defense move with having shooters all over the court to keep the defense honest.

“Moving the ball on offense and being aggressive on defense and just having a chip on our shoulder has been what we have have improved on,” Hansen said.

According to Kolodziej, the girls have played great all season and they are living in the moment and hope to keep the success up without labels. Overall, the team has shown progress in both the amount of wins and commitment to each other.

“We’re are living in the right now and I don’t know how this is going to shape up,” Kolodziej said.  They have worked hard all season and the record correlates with that.”