William Eimas-Dietrich and Ryan Collins
Jamesville-DeWitt High School’s Girls Varsity Basketball are finally state champions with the impressive record of 27-2. On March 12, 2016, J-DHS destroyed Floral Park High School 82-37 to win the Class A State Championship. After two years of losing in the state final, the third time around was a charm for J-DHS. Even with the hardship, those two years proved to be beneficial according to Senior Carly O’Hern who said that the past two years helped them “become more experienced and prepared.” Principal Paul Gasparini, who attended the game said that, “once (J-DHS) saw that they were ahead there was no way they would relinquish the lead.”
A week after their championship win, the team went to Albany to play in the Federation Basketball Tournament of Champions at the Times Union Center. The Federation Basketball Tournament of Champions is where the champions of the four high school associations in New York compete. These associations are NYSPHSAA, which is the association for most public schools outside of New York City, PSAL, which contains the public schools in New York City, NYSCHSAA, which is the association for Catholic schools in New York, and NYSAIS, which is an association of private schools who are able to recruit. In the semifinals the Red Rams took on Herbert Lehman of the PSAL league and beat them 69-44 on March 19. The next day they took on Staten Island Academy in the championship and lost 68-65 for their second loss of the season.
The Federation Tournament result was not exactly how the team wanted to end their season. Sophomore Jamie Boeheim enjoyed the experience at the tournament. “It was fun because there was good competition. The private schools we played treat this as their state championship,” said Boeheim. Although they were disappointed, the Lady Rams were just happy to get to the Federation Tournament. “It wasn’t ideal, but it was going to be our last game anyways,” said O’Hern.
The girls were near perfect in the 2015-2016 season.The Lady Rams only regular season loss came in December when they lost to Ursuline High School in the first round of the Diamond City Classic in Delaware. They were confident this whole season that they would attain their goal: winning the state title for themselves and the school. “Losing (in the state championship) the past two years pumped us up and made us want it more this year,” said Boeheim. Although it was tough to bounce back from the last two seasons, the girls looked deep down to find inspiration. “I think that last year fired us up more making us want it even more this year,” said senior Julia Fairbanks.
The coach, players and even the athletic director believe that team chemistry was a large part of the team’s success this year. “The chemistry on the team allowed them to go out and have fun,” said Athletic Director John Goodson.“The kids play a lot of basketball, the team is very closely knit,” said Coach Rob Siechen. Some of the girls have been playing since elementary school, which is why sophomore Meg Hair, the team's leading scorer with 403 points, credited JDYAA with helping the team have their chemistry. Mr. Gasparini also awknowledged JDYAA’s contribution to helping “build success and support for these girls.”
The team even had a few videos go viral during their season. One included a music video of the team lip syncing along to "Amnesia" by 5 Seconds of Summer on their way to a game earlier this year. Junior Bess Murad is the one who videotapes and edits the videos. She also made a highlight video of the state tournament weekend. “I thought that there was a chance that we were going to win states so I wanted to make a video of the whole weekend,” said Murad.