The National Anthem blares through the speakers. A bundle of nerves and excitements sits at the bottom of the stomachs of the eleven players suited up and ready to play. The announcer calls out the names of the starting players. The ref blows his whistle, throws the ball into the air for the jump ball, and the game begins.
The Lady Bison basketball team has begun their first games in district. Their district opener was against Frankston, with the Lady Bison taking the win 53 – 29. Against Westwood, the Lady Bison won by double digits.
“I was so excited to be starting district,” senior Melanie McGill said. “However, I was also sort of sad because that means basketball is that much closer to ending.”
The Lady Bison have been practicing basketball since the beginning of the school year. However, the team didn’t have their first game until the beginning of November.
“We have been practicing a lot more than we ever have in the past years,” junior Mollie Dittmar said. “I think that’s why we have been pretty successful so far.”
So far, the Lady Bison have played 18 games and have only lost one. Also, the team has received first place in the Crossroads Tournament and the Undefeated Team award at the Centerville Tournament.
“I was so proud of the team when they won the Crossroads Tournament,” manager Josalyn Taylor said. “I knew winning that tournament was easy, but I was still proud.”
While at the tournaments, some of the Lady Bison received special awards. At Crossroads, junior Samantha Pate, Dittmar, and senior A’Sia Bradley received the All-Tournament Player awards. At the Centerville Tournament, Pate received Most Valuable Player and McGill earned the All-Tournament Player award.
“I was so happy to have received that award,” McGill said. “I was so honored and humbled because I have never been given anything like that.”
This year’s Lady Bison basketball team started their year with a new coach – Dustin Bates from Slocum. Bates has won multiple state championship rings in the past. The girls are hoping for the best.
“I think everyone trusts him and we are all ‘buying into the system’ as Coach Bates likes to say,” McGill said. “It’s important for both of those things to occur in order for a team to do good.”
Despite the change in leadership, the team is looking to make the most of their year. This year’s team has six seniors on it, which is a huge difference from last year when the team had none at all.
“This is the last year for a lot of us and I know we all sort of want to go out with a bang, or just finish the season knowing we did the best we could,” senior A’Sia Bradley said. “We still have a lot of basketball left to play, but I know none of us will be ready for that last game whenever it may come.”
The team will continue their district games with two upcoming games against Crockett and Elkhart. The team has already begun to prepare for the two.
“It feels like we are always at least one step ahead of the other team,” Bradley said. “We are constantly looking ahead of preparing, but we never overlook any opponent.”