A giant rises

Varsity girls’ basketball assembles highest skilled team in years


Courtesy of FHC Girls Basketball

The current varsity team gathers to meet after a hard practice. The girls have been working around the clock to win successive victories this season.

Garrett Allen, Discover Editor

In the past few weeks since the beginning of the winter athletic season, the varsity girls’ basketball team has been relentlessly practicing in anticipation of games to come. Under direction of Coach Haley Leake, the team has been moving in what many members say is a positive direction.

The varsity girls currently sit in a high position, exhibiting reportedly some of the highest skill since Coach Leake arrived, and are using it to prepare for the opening Lutheran South Tournament from the 27th-30th next week. For point guard and forward Makenzie Schierding, senior, the energy of the team is abounding.

“The team this year is the best team we’ve had skill-wise in the eight years since the Jones sisters were here,” Schierding said. “We have a very solid group of girls. We all respect each other, and I think the skillset on top of that just adds to it.”

Historically, the team practices under standards of support and positivity. Under the direction of Coach Leake, those principles have shined through in the opening weeks of the season.

“Everyone’s encouraging each other, there’s nobody bringing anyone down,” Schierding said. “There’s no negative energy, and I think if you have negative energy it’s going to bring a team down. We all have each other’s backs when we’re out there; it’s an awesome thing to be a part of.”

As in all sports, attitudes can change the dynamic of team enormously. For junior Lauren Ebert, the team’s attitudes at practice have played a part in their growth so far this season.

“[The atmosphere] is good, our coach makes everything [go] so well — everything in practice, the culture — everyone’s nice to be around,” Ebert said. “We’re all looking forward to the season.”

For many of the girls, the team means more than sport. It can mean family. Forward Ashley Roland, senior, sees the dynamic of closeness on the team as essential.

“A typical high school team just practices and are sorta-friends, but when the season comes around here [for girls basketball], we are like sisters,” Roland said. “We’re so close to our coach, we hang out in her room all the time, we all hang out after school — it’s a family.”

Roland has high hopes for the season, especially for the long-awaited Lutheran South tournament next week — a tournament she hopes to win.

“We’ll run our best defenses, which we’ve been practicing since day one,” she said. “We will be looking at other teams, seeing how they play, and adjusting to [them]. Nobody is dropping the ball.”

To Scheirding and Ebert, success means continuing what they come to do every day: practice hard, especially with the guidance of their coach.

“[We just have to] keep doing what we’re doing. I think Coach Leake has everything to do with that — the atmosphere and dynamic she’s brought to this team and this school is honestly what has shifted our program,” Scheirding said. “The girls have worked so hard, and I’m so proud of all the work that everyone has put in.”

“We practice everyday so we can get better. This is the season [in which] I believe we’ll go far,” Ebert added.

Although girls’ basketball is often less-watched than boys’, the team believes its work will end up giving any spectators a show not to be missed. They plan on making this season one for the books.

“People should pay attention to girls’ basketball because it’s going to surprise them. Every year we’ve been getting better and better, and it will hit its peak this year,” Roland said. I think we’re going to do so well and I’m so excited.”

Schierding agreed.

“Everyone has worked so hard, and that will show,” she said. “I think people should come and watch because that will show on the floor – how hard we’ve worked, and how hard Coach Leake has pushed us.”