Nick Mannion and Steven Baker
Sports Editor and Staff Writer
The Jamesville-DeWitt High School Varsity Girls Basketball team has had a lot of success in recent years, winning six consecutive sectional championships, and the Class A State Championship the past two years in a row. Now, they’re looking to continue that success this season with help from their talented captains. “We want to win sectionals and regionals, and hopefully play for another state title,” said senior captain Jamie Boeheim.
Though the girls are coming off back-to-back state championships, this year’s a little different. In previous years the team has been dominated by upperclassmen, mostly seniors; however, this year, of the 11 players on the team, six are underclassmen: four sophomores and two freshman. “This makes it a little difficult for us because we’ve always had older seniors to help guide us, but now Meg, Kasey, and I are the seniors,” said Boeheim. However, Boeheim does not think that this makes this year’s team any worse than their last two teams that won the state championship. “We still definitely have the potential to win another championship,” said Boeheim.
So far the team is meeting their expectations, with a record of 5-0, and has already earned recognition, with a ranking of first in the Class A state rankings by the New York State Sportswriters Association.
Senior co-captain Meg Hair has been a critical piece of the team’s success these past four years. Last season Hair joined a select group of varsity girls basketball players, becoming the seventh player at J-DHS to score 1,000 points or more in her high school career. Hair is well on her way to breaking J-DHS alum Lorraine Schunk’s record of 1,612 points set in 1980, with half a season left to do so. This season, Hair is leading the team in scoring with 18.6 points per game, with two three-pointers per game. Hair credits her accomplishments to her coach and her teammates; “without them I wouldn’t be here,” said Hair. Next year Hair plans to play Division I college basketball for the University of Pennsylvania
The team is going up against top competition this year. Early in the season they hosted the Best of New York Basketball tournament on Dec. 9 and Dec. 10, which included three teams that ended the 2016-17 season state-ranked: Rochester’s Bishop Kearney, Buffalo’s Williamsville South, and New York City’s Paul Roberson. The Rams started off the tournament hot with a 30 point victory against Paul Roberson, and won the tournament in fashion, beating Bishop Kearney in overtime by four points. The victory over Bishop Kearney is impressive, considering their star freshman Saniaa Williams already has an offer from Syracuse University. Outside of the tournament the girls have another quality victory over the defending AA sectional champions West Genesee, beating them by two points.
Given the team’s success in recent years, there is a great deal of pressure on the players to keep competing at a high level. The players deal with this pressure well. “There is a lot of pressure and expectations on us, but if we use it to our advantage we can definitely make it back to the state championship,” said Boeheim. Senior co-captain Kasey Vaughan agreed with Boeheim, saying that the team this year is “strong” and uses this pressure as motivation. Along with that, the girls know that their success comes at a price, “we know that we have a target on our back, and everytime we take the court we are going to get the other team’s A-game,” said Hair.
Follow the Rams for the rest of the season to watch them make another run at the New York state title and complete the three peat. Their schedule can be found on the Jamesville-DeWitt High School Athletics website: http://jamesvilledewitt.org/athletics