Lady Rockets basketball finishes 10-12

Rockets+share+a+laugh+at+Coventry.+%28From+left%3A+Freshman+Cara+Tiller%2C+Juniors+Gia+Hlad+and+Savanna+Estes%2C+and+Senior+Julia+Laudato%29+%28Photo+courtesy+of+Jessica+Szczecinski%29

Rockets share a laugh at Coventry. (From left: Freshman Cara Tiller, Juniors Gia Hlad and Savanna Estes, and Senior Julia Laudato) (Photo courtesy of Jessica Szczecinski)

Claire Mitchell, Reporter

After a season of COVID protocols, quarantines and schedule changes, the Varsity girls’ basketball team finished with a 10-12 record.

While a December team quarantine and other COVID exposures affected the schedule and numbers of players at practices, Head Coach Carl Singer said, “I am proud of the way the girls didn’t make excuses about any of it and continued to improve as the season went on.” 

Singer added that “it was hard to get in a rhythm” to go from practicing almost two months without any games, to playing almost every day after Christmas. 

The team had to be flexible as games were cancelled and new ones were scheduled, he added.

COVID definitely affected the players, said junior Savanna Estes. “Wearing the masks was weird sometimes and could make it difficult to understand what coaches were saying quite often.”

One game that stuck out to Estes was when the girls played Springfield at home. 

“That was such a great game because we won by such a big margin,” she said. “Almost everyone scored in that game. We just had a lot of fun cheering and playing during that game.” 

Freshman Ella Kassan gets in on action against Springfield. (Photo courtesy of Pauline Dierkens)

Another highlight of the season was the Ravenna game, which was also senior night for twins Allison and Julia Laudato.  This game was extra special because they faced off with their sister, sophomore Mary Laudato, who plays for Ravenna.. 

“It felt good to beat them,” Julia Laudato said. “I am very competitive with my sisters, so it was also nice to win both games against [Mary].”

Ravenna matchups spark rivalries other than sisterly, especially for the junior class. As sixth graders, the juniors lost to Ravenna in the championship game. 

 “…those games get pretty heated,” Estes said, and she was right: one player from each team got ejected when they faced off this season. 

Estes said, “As freshmen come in, I’m pretty sure they think that we upperclassmen are crazy at first, but we always welcome them all in.”  

Freshman Ella Kassan backed up her teammate’s point. “I was also worried I wouldn’t fit in with the upperclassman, but the girls were just so nice… Once I had my first practice I felt like I had known them forever.”

Estes said the team has bonded well. “It’s like I have a bunch of sisters that I’m not actually related to,” she added. “We are all really close, sometimes probably too close, and it’s just like we’re a big family.” 

Junior Mariah Embry goes up for a layup at Ravenna. (Photo courtesy of Jessica Szczecinski)

Before every game the girls go into the locker room with six minutes left on the clock, and junior Mariah Embry starts to get everyone hyped for the game. “In my opinion, she is the best hype man you will ever encounter,” Kassan said.

Another team tradition before every game is a prayer, led by Estes. All the players take a moment to put their arms around each other.  Kassan said, “This helps us realize how lucky we are to be here and have a season.”