This year’s eighth grade girls basketball had a wide variety of experience and talent, but managed to work together greatly as a team. The team ranged from girls who had played their whole life to beginners who had never touched a basketball before. In spite of the variety of skill throughout the team, they were able to work together and connect when on the court.
The team was made up of fifteen hardworking and devoted athletes. The coach, Ms. Wendy Kraft, created a system to insure as much playing time as possible for each player. Three teams were created called white, orange, and black which had five girls on each team. At each game two teams would play while the other team was there for support. Although not all the girls were able to play all the games, there was surely a connection between everyone.
The team started out strong by winning first place in their Westminster Tournament on December 3 at ASL. As these were the first couple of games of the season, it really helped the girls to work together, push hard, and bond as a team. Point guard Natalie Vann said, “I think it gave us a rush, because it was the first couple of games we had ever played together and we won them all. It gave us a taste of victory.” The team played three games in total which were against Grey Coat Hospital, St. Georges and QK.
One of the highlights from the season was a loss that the Eagles suffered against Grieg City on February 24, 60-28. “We are generally quite a successful team, so this taught us that it is okay to lose, and it doesn’t mean we are a bad team. It just means that there is area to improve,” said Sofi Janssen, a power forward.
“I think that this loss actually made us a better team,” said shooting guard Kate Black. “It made us stronger and helped us to work on our weaknesses.”
Even though the loss to Grieg City pushed the group to become a better team, one of the lows of the season was a loss to ACS Egham in the finals of the Aberdeen Tournament on February 6.
Ten players from the team were allowed to travel to Aberdeen, Scotland to compete in a tournament at the International School of Aberdeen. Six schools from all over Europe, including England and Portugal, were competing in this tournament. ASL had won all of their games including beating Egham on the first day, 10-8. They earned a spot in the finals against the number two team, Egham, to compete for the first place trophy.
The girls played with all their might, but ended up losing 9-7. “Whenever our team starts losing we also lose sight of our communication and our capabilities,” said post player Ava Crawford.
“Even though we played really hard, it was sort of a wakening call that we weren’t the best team and we still needed to improve,” said Black. “Even though we won the first game, this was the one that mattered.”
Overall, the team had a very successful and hardworking season. “It was a great lead into JV or varsity because we got a lot more competition than we did in seventh grade, and it pushed us to play much harder,” said Black.
They were all able to improve and connect as a team. Coach Kraft said, “The biggest improvement in our team is probably learning how to play with everybody and keeping their spacing. They knew what the strengths were from each of the players, so whatever lineup there was, they knew who was in and how to use each player.”