Shared season poses challenges, new gym offers solution

junior Nick Norton looks up to shoot a layup
Photo by Patrick Smith

junior Nick Norton looks up to shoot a layup Photo by Patrick Smith

Carleigh Thrower

junior Nick Norton looks up to shoot a layupPhoto by Patrick Smith
junior Nick Norton looks up to shoot a layup
Photo by Patrick Smith

As the girls’ basketball team begins its season with the title of state champions, it is no question the girls have high hopes. While the season gets under way, the girls prepare to have another memorable schedule, as the boys’ team has its eye on making history as well.

“What the girls did last year was great,” senior boys’ basketball player David Leitao said. “It shows us how hard we have to work to get to that stage and compete in a state championship.”

Unlike most teams such as golf, tennis and swimming, where each gender competes in different seasons, basketball teams share seasons.

Each had to share gym time, home games and rearrange practice times until the new gym was finished and opened Dec. 17.

“I think the new gym will give us the opportunity to spend more time in the gym,” senior girls basketball player Makenzie Skrabal said. “Then we can be more efficient instead of having to go home and then come back to school later for practice.”

Being able to train every day after school and have more gym time is another way to help gain practice in order to make their journey to state a reality.  For the athletes, practicing early is a convenience that will not include going home and coming back later in order to let the other team practice earlier.

“There is the most obvious benefit which is alleviating the scheduling stress of one gym.  With a second gym, we will conceivably never have another late practice at the varsity/junior varsity level,” girls basketball coach Jill Nagel said. “It allows for a place for varsity teams to warm-up during JV games, allows student-athletes extra shooting and skill development workout times and provides the potential for playing two games at the same time.”

The players are grateful for the new gym and realize that most schools do not get this opportunity in the additional space they have gained.  They say that it gives them more flexibility to have practices during the times they’d rather have them.

“The most beneficial thing from having the new gym would be not having to ask one of the other teams if they are going to be practicing at a certain time,” sophomore girls’ basketball player Carly Offerdal said. “That way we can pick the best time for us, and we can practice for longer amounts of time.”

As the season gets underway, the teams have high expectations. While the girls’ team remains ranked first and boys ranked second, these athletes have the potential to win state, although the crowds might not always depict that.

“I don’t think the girls are overshadowed. I just think [the boys] get a bigger crowd and more energetic fans,” Skrabal said. “Although, I think our season is what we make it and if we make it our best, then I think more people will want to come out and see us play.”

Contrary to last year, the girls come into their season ranked first and gained more recognition and publicity within the school from winning state, which could spark bigger crowds.

“Basically just being a guy makes it so people want to show up to that game,” Offerdal said, “but last year, we had a lot of big crowds because we advertised our games more and I think by winning state last year, more people will show up to our games this year.”

Moving past last season, the team realizes that they have to practice even harder to keep the ranking as number one. With the advantage of the new gym and being able to practice longer, both teams have the opportunity to accomplish their goals.

“Collectively, we are a very competitive group and are passionate about the game of basketball and playing it at a high level with some of our closest friends.  That level of competitiveness and passion focuses us on the process,” Nagel said, “Our goal is to be no. 1 at the end of the season, but we are focused on the process to make that happen, not just the end result.”
By Carleigh Thrower