2015 Girls Basketball on the Prowl

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Alex Pachter

Watch out for the 2015 Girls Basketball team! You may have already seen them doing laps around the atrium or stuffing each other’s lockers with Hershey kisses, but if you haven’t seen them on the court then you’ve missed out on some serious magic. After sending last year’s valuable seniors, Sarah Paller, Olivia Saleh, Cole Young, and Shayna Depersia, off to college, the girls have stepped up their game, blown the competition away, and redefined “rebuilding year.” The Lions team is a sophomore-dominated team led by senior captain Emma Sullivan and sophomore captain Leah Ross. Going into the season with only two seniors and one junior, the team was a bit wary of the challenges they would face. Yet it seems as though the youthfulness of the team has worked to their advantage. What these girls lacked in experience, they made up for with stronger knees and extremely hard work.

Last year the girls were hot fire—undefeated in the PSAA league and semifinalists in the ACIS championships for the first time in eight years. The team had high hopes to bring that same stride into this winter’s season, but was missing a few of their major starting players. We’ve all been faced with the term “rebuilding year.” In such a small school, the graduation of a few has a substantial impact on the entire sports world and after 2014, every girl’s sport, except Girl’s Varsity Soccer, has felt the absence of seniors and the gap of junior varsity athletes this year many girls’ sports teams were made up mostly of young players. But in fact, this Girl’s team has risen to the challenge and turned their “rebuilding year” into a “reconquering year.”

One of the team’s three coaches, Eileen Herr proudly gushed at the beginning of the season, “This team is made up of young athletes who are dedicated to improving themselves as individuals and a team. Expect to see great strides in the near future!” As coach predicted, the team has translated their  mix of experience and fresh excitement into a winning scoreboard. The girls and coaches, together, have exploited the one benefit of such a young team by actively shaping their on and off-court dynamic. Leah Ross, a Sophomore captain who has been playing basketball since she was five years old, reflects, “The major challenge has been adjusting from a team with a lot of experience to 3 freshmen and 2 sophomores starting. But we’ve managed to overcome that and been able to learn along the way. The advantage to having a young team is that we are going to get better together and that much closer over time. My time as co-captain has been eventful and it was definitely hard to adjust and I’m still learning how to lead my team, but they made the transition easier and accepted my mistakes.”

Each and every team member has put in extreme work and perseverance to be great this season and it was all under the leadership of their talented co-leaders and coaches, Eileen Herr, Tierney Bryce, and Anne Gunning. Mr. McGrath, director of athletics here at BC points out, “Leadership exhibited by Leah as a superior player and by Michelle and Emma as veterans of the team has been extraordinary and a real key to the team’s success.”

So how great have they actually been? Is this all just a bunch of hyper-extended propaganda to bring fans to the games? Check again. The team has leapt beyond anyone’s expectations for the season. So far, the girls have won multiple games against challenging teams. A personal favorite is at the Holiday Classic vs Brearley on December 15. Although the team lost to Nightingale-Bamford in the championship game, they managed to pull out a win against Brearley, a perennially tough competitor. Furthermore, in this season the Girl’s Basketball team beat Lehman for the first time in Berkeley Carroll’s Sports history!

This sort of hard work and dedication to the game guaranteed the team a running spot in the ACIS 2015 championships. Going into the competition, the girls were tied for first place. Berkeley Carroll hosted the first round of the ACIS playoffs and beat Saint Ann’s, all while honoring their two beloved seniors, Emma Sullivan and Itiah Pierce, who have been on the team for three years. After crushing it on the court, the girls moved on to the ACIS Championship against Léman. Although they didn’t win, the girls, following the lead of star players Emma and Leah, gave it their all. Emma reflected before the big game, “Our goals are to execute plays well and communicate better. We always try to put our best effort on the court, no matter who we are playing.” Thursday, February 5th’s game marked the end to the 2015 Girls basketball season. They’ve left a promising foundation for next years team and have provided a wonderful springboard for Emma and Itiah as they bounce off to college.