Courting The Win

The girls’ varsity basketball team is stronger than ever


Photo: Andrew McDowell

Eighth grader Tya Johnson concentrates on her free-throw during a varsity basketball game against St. Mary’s. The game against St. Mary’s was the first major win for the team.

The girls’ varsity basketball team re-enforced their lineup this season with the addition of four eighth graders to their roster. The team is looking strong this season and the coaches and other players are not worried because these middle schoolers, however young, have a good sense for the game as many of them play outside of school ball as well.

“They bring a skill set with them because they’re playing beyond just at the school,” said coach Haley Gilmore.

The team had their first test on Nov. 10, as they scrimmaged the girls’ varsity team from Collierville High School. At first, the game started out a bit rough.

“The first quarter we lost by like seventeen… but it was the first time any of them had played against a varsity team,” Senior Katie Schaefer said.

But luckily it was a practice game and the scores were wiped after every quarter, so the team was able to start the next quarter with a clean slate after their initial nerves got the best of them. Even though they lost, the girls banded together and gave their all.

“We were competitive with a huge public school team. And so I think that says a lot about like, where we are and where we’re going this season,” said Schaefer. “I don’t think anyone expected us to be able to do that…we have a lot of potential.”

That potential and optimism seen by Schaefer is also echoed by Coach Gilmore. Before practice, they can all be seen chatting and joking around.

Dakota Partee, one of the eighth graders on the team this year, states that even though there are age gaps and maturity differences, it does not affect how the team treats each other.

“We treat each other all the same,” said Partee. “We’re all equal on the team.”

As it turns out, only the  two upperclassmen, senior Schaefer and Junior Caroline Finch, had not played with the underclassmen before this year.

“Last year, the freshman and eighth graders that we have played together on a team so they already kind of have that bond,” coach Gilmore said.

This does not seem to be a problem, though, as the team is putting in the work together to become champs.

“They’re working hard and they love each other,” coach Gilmore said.

That the team, despite large age gaps, is able to play together speaks to the potential for this team to come together for a winning season this year. The camaraderie and passion shared by the team is showing up on the court.

“They work hard and they love it. They’re passionate about it. And I think that they show that when they get on the floor,” said coach Gilmore.