Girls Basketball Preview


Isa Neufarth, Writer

“In sixth and seventh grade, we were shadowed behind the players who are playing high school basketball, so this year is our chance to improve and get more playing time,” said Sydney Lehmann, eighth grader and basketball player.

The girls’ basketball team played in their first game of the season on Dec. 2, 2021, against St. Pius, with the sixth and eighth-grade teams losing, and the seventh-grade team winning. Ms. Brianna Adler, eighth-grade girls basketball coach said, “Our first game didn’t end as we had hoped, but overall, I thought we played extremely well.” The teams practiced three to four times a week and did preseason scrimmages to be prepared for the season. They have almost no covid restrictions, so things are getting back to normal.

For the 2021-2022 season, there is one coach for each team. Mr. Dave Pratt is the sixth-grade girls coach, Ms. Taylor Baioni is the seventh-grade coach, and Ms. Adler as the eighth-grade coach. The two younger teams rostered 12 girls each, while the eighth-grade team only has nine players. All the coaches are alum of the high school, and Coach Baioni and Adler are both alum of the high school’s basketball program as well.

Each team has their own focus this season to become a better teams overall. The sixth grade’s goal is to learn to play with the others on their team since they have never played with this group of girls before. The seventh-grade team’s goal is mainly getting adjusted to its new coaches and atmosphere of the two older teams. Coach Adler and Baioni are assistant coaches for the other coach’s team as well, so the eighth-grade team already has experience with the staff, the plays, and the style of play taught by the coaches. For the eighth grade team, a lot of adjusting has been done. Four players moved up from middle school basketball to high school instead. So, there are only nine girls on the roster, and the girls playing middle school must show some leadership. These eighth graders had those four skilled players to guide and help the team, and it was a big adjustment to not have them for all the athletes.

For the 2021-2022 season, most things are back to normal.  Many Covid restrictions have been lifted, the season will be longer, and spectators can sit where they like and don’t have to wear masks.  As of this year, masks are optional, athletes don’t have to wear masks on the bench, and the season has around the usual number of games. Coach Adler said, “We have around 14 regular season games scheduled at the moment.” There are also more recent changes for the middle school’s basketball teams. St. Pius, Beechwood, and Holmes are the teams included in the Bluebirds division, which is not what it was in past years. Lehman said, “St. Pius and Ockerman will be our biggest competion, but that depends on how many players Ockerman moved up.”  Last year, the now eighth graders were knocked out of the tournament by Ockerman.

Overall, according to the players and coaches, this season should be promising. With almost no covid restrictions, everything is back to normal from last year’s season.