Girls basketball makes it to states

Salena Kahassai, News Editor

Samantha Macuare
With a knee brace on, senior Honor Culpepper dribbles the ball down the court. The varsity girls basketball team ended the season ranked tenth in the state.

The girls varsity basketball team, made up of 13 girls in all four grades made it to their post season with a regular season score of 24-1.  

“This season has been incredible,” senior Kerrigan White said. “From conditioning to preseason to regular season, we’ve pushed ourselves physically and mentally to reach our potential. This year we added a lot of tournament games to play tougher competition in preparation for the post season. The regular season is a grind having to play the type of teams in our district is a challenge. Though we’ve had some ups and downs… we’ve persevered to get where we are. The postseason has been so enjoyable because all of our hard work has paid off and we still have more to play whether our season ends Friday or the following weekend it will be one of my most cherished memories.”  

Senior Kayla Sieper said that the team has a strong bond on and off the court. She said that positively affected their game play.  

“The team dynamic is lighthearted, yet one of great trust,” senior Kayla Sieper said. “We make it a point to carve time out of our schedules for building our relationships with one another because everyone on the team understands that having strong bonds on and off the court contributes to on court chemistry. Our relationships definitely positively affect our game because it allows us to trust each other more wholly in high pressure situations.”  

For the three seniors on the team, this season is their last with Plant.  

“This season has meant so much to me because not only is it my last but because I had to sit last year out because of my injury,” senior Honor Culpepper said. “This team is just so special and so close, and I wouldn’t want to end my high school career with anyone else. Every game we play is really exciting.”  

The team had to bench four players for part of the season due to injuries. Sophomore Hayden Stern tore her ACL and meniscus halfway through the season and sat the rest of the regular season and post season out. Junior Annika Johnson tore her meniscus and was out for two months in the beginning of the season. Sophomores Silvia Farfante and Lydia Lowry both suffered from concussions and were out for several weeks.  

It was about halfway through our regular district season and we were playing at Steinbrenner,” Stern said. “I’ve always been prone for ACL tears, according to different physical trainers, but I never thought it would actually happen to me, no one does. But I was going up for a layup when out of nowhere, my knee gave out and before I knew it, I was on the ground. No one thought I had torn it based on the fact that I was walking and jumping normally, but my MRI disagreed.” 

Girls basketball Coach Mahon said she had the girls play a very tough schedule to allow them to gain experience. Coach Mahon says they practice or play six days a week for two to two and a half hoursLowry said it helped them prepare for their post season.  

“When we play the teams in our district, there isn’t much competition,” Lowry said. “Coach put us in tournaments where we play harder teams to get better and to prepare for our goal, which is the state championships.”  

The girls welcomed four freshmen onto the team this season. According to Freshman Tanner Strickland ,the team has been very welcoming and that she’ll miss the seniors next year.  

“It’s been great on this team,” Strickland said. “Everyone on the team is like family to me. The upperclassmen have been so supportive, and I have learned so much from them.”  

Juniors Kendal Cheesman and Nyla Jean hit a total of 1000 points, a moment that Cheesman said she found memorable. 

“In my 1000th point game, we had a nice win over at Thomas Aquinas and that really brought our momentum up,” Cheesman said. Nyla accomplished 1000 when we played at home on a three and that was a really cool moment for us. All season we have just been working hard to get where we want to go. The tough schedule and tournament games we’ve experienced this season have really pushed our momentum and motivation the most.” 

Sieper said that she was hopeful the team would make it further than they did last year, and they’ve exceeded her expectations. As of Feb. 21, the team won regional semifinals and are attending states.  

“It has been so rewarding going on this journey with my teammates,” Sieper said. “We have known since day one that we had the potential to go all the way this season. Coach Mahon does a great job of keeping us grounded and everyone on the team does a great job of pushing each other in practice so we can play at the high level we want to. It really hurt to not live up to our potential last season so this year we‘re hyper focused on our goal and it has been so fulfilling to barrel through districts and regionals in the manner that we are.” 

After a victory in the state semifinals, the team lost to Miami on Feb. 29, ending the season with a 31-2 record.