Captains of the court: Girls basketball heads into the new season with high hopes


Photo by Anna Egleson

Junior guard Reagan Wilson scores during the team’s conference game against Fishers. Wilson was a starter on last year’s championship squad.

Olivia Gonzalez and Max Habel

Temperatures drop, rain starts to freeze, and the days are getting shorter. Football season comes to an end, and everyone gets ready to hibernate for the coming cold months. Yet as one season ends, another begins.                 

After a long season of fall sport, girls’ varsity basketball comes out of hibernation. With a hunger to defend their title as state champions, the team begins their season with confidence, and plays with the knowledge that they are the team to beat. Junior Guard Reagan Wilson speaks for the team when saying that their title puts a bounty on their heads.

“[Being state champions] definitely puts a big target on our backs, but the team and myself can handle it and we won’t back down,” Wilson said.

The target put onto the team only serves as a motivator to continue to work hard and win their games. This comes with practices, difficult scheduling, and preparations before the season even starts. Senior guard Brooklyn Ely uses the difficult scheduling to better their intentions, as well as their motivator giving the team the ability to work with a common goal in mind.

“We always prepare well every year. Our schedule has always been difficult so we always prepare with intention in the pre-season,” Ely said. 

A difficult schedule and motivation are just two things that combine into expectations for the new basketball season. Each member on the team has a set goal or expectation that they are hoping to achieve this year, but they all share a common goal as well. Coach O’Reilly works with the girls in order to complete these expectations.

“Our expectations for this season are to compete game in and game out and leave everything on the floor,” O’Reilly said.

Even with how high the team’s expectations may be, there are still some difficulties that they share. They fully acknowledge that their goals of being state champions again this year will only be obtainable through work and perseverance. This creates immense pressure at every game the team plays. Team manager Landon Denison recognizes first-hand that the girls team’s reputation is on the line.

“I think there is a lot of pressure being the defending state champions. We play the hardest schedule in the state, all of the top 10 teams, and play in one of the hardest conferences and toughest sectionals by far in the state, so the team has to bring it every night or we are going to get beat,” Denison said. 

Physical goals aren’t the only downside of being champions. Lack of communal support also rears its head this season, according to some managers, the communal support may not reflect their hard work and dedication.

“The pre-season rankings had us ranked 6th. We were the defending state champions, and the defending state champions are always pre-ranked 1st in the state. People don’t realize how much our team has been through and how we have fought through our struggles and persevered,” Denison said.

Even if the basketball community seems to not be as supportive as before, the team is constantly building its own community—looking to create a better environment for its players in order to build a deeper connection in the real world.

“We have team dinners the night before most home games. It gets our entire program together to do something unrelated to basketball,” coach Hoffman said. 

“We are also super involved with our youth program and have Big Sister, Little Sister hangouts several times a season.”

Along with regular hangouts, the team creates other ways to bring each other closer. Freshman guard Alyssa Hutchinson is already close to her team, but before their games, the team has a special tradition that acts as a magnet in order to pull them together as a single unit on the court.

“We all write the word together on our right arm. It helps us play as one,” Hutchinson said.

Newer managers of the team are able to feel the community built by this group of girls, even if they have not been there to experience it as long as others. Manager Guinevere Salas is a manager for the first year and helps manage the team along with the coaches.  

“The coaches are honest with the whole team which keeps the trust strong between everyone. And of course, the girls never give up a fight, and always put forth their best effort. However this season goes, I’m grateful to be a part of it,” Salas said.

This season is a fresh start for the girls team. New beginnings come with new people, new memories, and a common goal between the girls. Coach Hoffman along with the other coaches have been helping to work for that goal during this new season, hoping to achieve their goals.

“Our players understand this is a brand new season and we are just trying to be the best we can be this year,” Hoffman said.