By Lizzie Redmore and Emily Pomeroy
“Clear eyes, full heart, can't lose” the Jamesville-DeWitt High School Varsity Girls Basketball team chants before every game in their huddle. On Saturday, Jan. 24, their mantra came true. J-D played Pittsford Sutherland High School who they lost to in the State Championship last year. The Red Rams blew them away with a 35 point margin. “I think this game really boosted our teams confidence because last year when we lost to them it was heart-breaking and tore us apart,” said freshman foward Jamie Boeheim. “We’ve had a rough start to the season, but now, that win, really changed our team for the rest of the season,” said Boeheim. The team is held to a high standard this year due to last year’s near perfect record and their appearance in the state championship last season.
Senior Night for the Varsity Girls Basketball team is on Feb. 3 against longtime rival Christian Brothers Academy. The game, as usual, will be very intense and J-DHS will be seeking revenge for their previous loss this season against their enemy.
To prepare for the season, the team traveled to New York City on Dec. 27-30 to compete with some of the best teams in the country. The team held their own with a record of 1-1. They beat Albany High School, which, according to senior captain Alyssa Robens, was “a really good win [for the team].” Ossining High School from NYC was by far the biggest challenge for the Class A J-D girls because they are currently ranked No.1 in the New York State in the AA division.
Even though the team didn't win all their games, the trip was a good bonding experience. The girls went shopping in Times Square, ice skating in Bryant Park, and ate dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe. “Being in NYC is always but going with my team made it so much more entertaining,” said sophomore teammate Bess Murad. The bonding continued after the trip. “Everyone loves each other; even when we're not on the court we’re always hanging out together on the weekends or going out to dinner,” said Robens.
The chemistry of the team has impacted the performance in the games greatly and it has shown in the way they are playing now compared to the beginning of the season. Although they are 4-0 in their league, beating Marcellus High School, East Syracuse-Minoa High School, Fulton High School, and Mexico High School by a margin of 25 points, the team lost to Christian Brothers Academy, Ossining High School, and Bishop Kearney High School (Irondequoit).
The starters are experienced and work together on the court to achieve their goal to win. The youngest starter, being a freshman, is the leading scorer so far this season with 117 points in just 12 games. Hair made the varsity team last year as an eighth grader and held her own throughout the season with 249 points. The second top scorer for the Rams is Alyssa Robens who has 107 points this season and has accumulated 602 points in her three previous years . Co-captian Maddy Frank has 94 points so far in her senior year and in her high school career has scored 427 points. Junior Carly O’Hern started her varsity basketball career as a freshman and has collectively scored 349 points. This season O’Hern has 73 points. Sophomore Angela Bussone has 47 points this season and 153 points from the past two years on the team.
The common goal for the team this season is to get redemption from the devastating loss in the State Championship last year. Head Coach Rob Siechen is putting a lot of pressure on the girls to make it there again and get revenge, said Murad. “I know we can make it there, we just have to focus and do the same thing we did last year,” she said. With the team only losing two seniors from last year the team dynamic is essentially the same and they’re expected to come back even stronger and more experienced. “We started out a little rocky last year, too, so I think we will improve as the season goes on," said Robens.
Coach Siechen has impacted the team’s success with his time and dedication to the girls. He pushes the team to do their best in every practice and play in each game “like it’s their last,” He pushes them to make them work hard in everything they do said Bussone. “Mental concentration is extremely important to him,” Siechen is very invested in the team and will do anything to keep the girls motivated. Before each game he scouts and records the good players on the opposing team to match up and learn their style of play. “He has certain expectations that he requires us to meet, so I think it’s a good balance between fun and hard work,” said Frank.
The loss of their only two seniors, Alyssa Robens and Maddy Frank will impact the team greatly in the next few years. “I love Alyssa… we’re always there to pick eachother up when we’re down,” said Frank. “We’re gonna miss Alyssa and Maddy next year because they hold the team together, but I know we can carry on the legacy that they’re leaving behind,” said Murad.