In front of a cheering J-D community, friends, and family, junior Meg Hair accomplished a momentous achievement on Dec. 22, 2016. In the J-D 79-30 win over Homer, Hair became the seventh member of the 1,000 point club at J-DHS Varsity Girls Basketball team history. Still being an active player and only a junior, Hair is well on her way to outscore the all-time record of 1,162 points, which was set over three decades ago in 1980 by Lorraine Schunck. “Meg can change the game on both sides of the ball, she always plays at the best level,” says Kelner. Hair’s amazing accomplishment will remain in the J-DHS Athletics Hall of Fame for as long as the school stands - and it will probably be around the trophies and plaques the J-D Girls Basketball Teams have, and continue, to bring in.
On top of the amazing feat by Hair, the team has already earned recognition. Starting before Week One of the season, the Jamesville-DeWitt Girls Basketball team was ranked the “best large school team” in New York state by the Post-Standard’s polls. The defending state champions have continued to hold on to their number one ranking all season long, not even losing it for a day. On top of that, the Red Rams started this year’s season by being crowned the champions of the Best of New York basketball tournament.
J-DHS hosted the Best of New York basketball tournament on Saturday, Dec. 10 and Sunday, Dec. 11, which was also the weekend before the season opened. It consisted of four teams, Albertus Magnus, Bishop Kearney, Cardinal O’Hara, and J-DHS, all of which are among the best teams in New York. “The competition was really good. The other three teams are some of the best in the state,” says senior center Julia Kelner. In their first game, the Red Rams played Bishop Kearney, beating them 46-38. In the game for the tournament gold, J-D played Cardinal O’Hara in what turned out to be a tight game. However, the Red Rams were able to pull away from COH at the end for the big 60-54 win. “It was great to start our season with a tournament championship win,” says senior co-captain Angela Bussone.
The team’s strong start to the season can be credited to their strong roster. With many strong returners from last year’s state championship team, the Lady Rams have a lot to be optimistic about. The team has a record of 6-3 so far in the 2016-17 season. The losses were upsetting, but have not discouraged the team at all. “You can’t dwell on the losses, you can only work to prevent them from happening again,” says Bussone.
You would think that the girls would be under a great deal of pressure on the court as defending New York State Champions, but it appears to be just the opposite. “Since we won the state championship title last season, there is a lot more pressure on us this season to live up to it and win again,” says senior Kelner, “there is a target on our backs, everyone wants to beat us.” Being a top three team in New York state also adds to the fact that they are defending champs. But the J-D Girls Basketball team are not satisfied yet.
Another state title is the goal for every single girl on the basketball team. “We all are working and playing for the same goal, another championship ring,” says Bussone.
The team however is working on something which is vitally needed in order to achieve their high hopes: team chemistry. With about half the team being new, underclass girls, new connections needed to be made between the players to form a team and play together as a cohesive unit. “There was a lot of new girls this year so it there wasn’t the already-formed chemistry like there has been the past couple seasons,” says Bussone. Kelner says that the chemistry has made a “huge improvement” from the start of the season. A lot of the new girls are also becoming important role players under the upperclass girls. “The new girls have really helped the team a lot,” says Bussone.
Follow Girls Basketball this season in their hopes to defend the New York state championship title in what is turning out to be another big year. You can expect the team to be making headlines all season long. The schedule can be found on the Jamesville-DeWitt High School Athletics website: http://jamesvilledewitt.org/athletics