Young player shoot for the stars

Freshmen+basketball+players+look+to+add+a+boast+to+the+varsity+team+this+year+and+in+years+to+come.

EllieClaire Gordon

Freshmen basketball players look to add a boast to the varsity team this year and in years to come.

LILY ISRAEL, STAFF WRITER

The girl’s varsity basketball team is younger than they have ever been. There are four freshmen, one 8th grader, and one 7th grader, and no seniors. Although their age might be seen as a set back, the team will not let this get in the way of a great season.

The youngest player is forward Mackenzie Warner. Even though this is Warner’s first year at Trinity Prep, she has already shown her value to the team as the leading scorer in the first preseason game.

Warner has been playing with the team since the summer league. She was surprised when she made the varsity team, but it was not a shock to the coaches.

“This kid is so far really solid,” head coach Samuel Stewart said. “She keeps a level emotional, mental game unlike most players that are young.”

Warner is not the only middle school player on the team. 8th grader Suzie Evans joins the ranks of the varsity team this season after playing on the middle school team for two seasons.

The young lineup continues with 9th graders Mo Gavin, Mary Pierce, Claire Lord and Sophia Cheros.

“We are just going to keep working hard,” Cheros said.

Like Warner, Lord is also new to Trinity Prep.  Stewart was excited when Lord, who is a multi-sport athlete in voleyball and softball, decided to play basketball.

“I am so happy that Coach Starling, the softball coach, talked Claire into playing basketball. She realized how good [of] an athlete she was,” Stewart said.

Freshman point guard Mary Pierce is one of the four returning players and looks forward to another great season. She greatly benefitted from her experience on the team last year and hopes that she can help the new members of the team.

“I had the same difficulties some of [the younger players] are having, and I just have to tell them everyone goes through this,” Pierce said.

To add to the young spirit of the team, just two weeks before the tryouts began, juniors Meredith Lilley, Lacey Spinks and Cassie Veneziano learned there would be no seniors trying out.

None of the juniors ever expected to be the oldest members of the team this year.

They have had to teach the younger players how to play on the varsity level, and they become role models for the younger girls on and off the court.

“On the court, I am a bit more serious,” Spinks said. “I definitely get tougher as a leader and make sure that everyone is trying their hardest, but in the end, the players know it’s all for a good reason.”

The younger players have learned a lot from the older players.

“The whole team has really become a family,” Gavin said. “[The older players] are like sisters to me.”

People question young teams because of their lack of playing experience.

However, all the players have been putting in work since day one to improve their skills. Stewart was overjoyed because of the strong participation in off-season play.

“We had more kids playing in the offseason than I have ever coached,” Stewart said. “Those are the kids that are out there right now.”

The players agree that although having a young team can cause some problems because of the lack of overall experience, it will be a huge advantage in the future.

“The future of the girl’s basketball program looks great, and I’m excited to be able to make an impact on the team over my next two years here,” Veneziano said.

Warner thinks that the team will learn from each other along the way to continuously improve and that hopes they will advance to the state tournament by the time she graduates.

Stewart is optimistic about the future of Trinity Prep’s basketball program because of the amount of players on every team.

“We are still building for the future because we will have everyone back next year,” Stewart said.

As for this year, the team expects to win games against teams that they lost to last year. They also want to have a great time while playing together.

Evans is especially looking forward to the season.

“I expect us to be pretty darn awesome,” Evans said.