Liv Byrnes and Emma Carr
Photo courtesy of Angela Bussone
“We’re one big family,” said freshman Angela Bussone of the Jamesville-Dewitt High School Varsity Girls Basketball team, who have grown very close this season. The 21-2 team has come off of winning their sectional championship and their regional championship, beating both Franklin and Averill Park High Schools. They then advanced to the state semifinals where they won over Harborfields 44-30, but lost in the state championship to Pittsford Sutherland, 41-57. “I was sad, but we were proud of our accomplishments,” said senior Kara Gantos.
The two co-captains, junior Alyssa Robens and junior Maddy Frank, were both important players that lead the team.“I love that the team looks up to us and listen to what we say but it’s nice because we are not dictators and they can do what they want,” says Robens. “I know we have to set an example because we have such young players on the team and I have to be a good leader with my words and my actions,” said Frank. News Channel 9 also recognized the captains importance and leadership and nominated them both for athlete of the week. “It was a great honor, and it was really great that we were nominated together because we are the co-captains,” said Frank. “We both worked really hard and I’m glad we were nominated together because there was no competition,” said Robens. “Whenever we are struggling they help us out,” said Bussone of the duo. “They don’t yell at me for making mistakes; they cheered for me no matter what,” said eighth grader Kasey Vaughn. Sophomore Carly O’Hern is another leader for the team, and scored 27 out of their 47 points in their sectional title game against Whitesboro High School. “It was awesome to be able to do that for my team,” said O’Hern. “When we guard each other in practice, (O’Hern) will push me around and help me use new techniques that I can use in the next game,” said eighth grader Meg Hair.
The team not only has their leaders to help them stay on top, their coach, Rob Siechen, plays a big part in their wins. The whole team agrees that he is a huge motivator for the girls. “Before big games, he helps us scout the good players and learn their defense,” said senior Kara Gantos, “He helped the guards and the posts every day during practice,” said Robens. For the State semi-final game against Harborfields High School the team watched tapes and tried to gain an understanding for the personnel on the team, “He helped us practice really hard and stay focused,” said Frank of coach Siechen. “He will always help me become a better player,” said Hair. “He taught me to play like every game is my last game,” said Vaughn. “He has helped me mentally a lot, so that I don't get down on myself,” said Bussone. “He sets a good example for the team and he is very strategy oriented which helps us make good decisions in games,” said Frank.
This team made it to states, but they had some tough games to get there. They lost twice to AA teams, Nottingham High School and Fayetteville-Manlius High School. “We definitely could’ve won. We were at an equal skill level, but our caliber was off,” said Bussone. After coming off these two losses they won against another AA team, West Genesee High School, boosting their confidence level. “We think those two games were flukes, and we just wanted to put it behind us,” said sophomore Melissa Murphy.
Throughout the season the team had individual goals and team goals. A common team goal was to make it to sectionals and maybe even states, which they achieved this past weekend. "I wanted to develop as a player and help lead the team which I think I’ve accomplished both of those and anything else beyond that was icing on the cake. ,” said Frank. The team also owes it’s wins to their strong bond. “They’re my favorite team yet,” said Robens and she can’t wait to play with the girls again next season.
They J-D basketball team maybe only losing two seniors, but this young team hopes to strive for states again next year. “We are definitely all looking forward to next year because we have a lot of talent and I think we will go far but the seniors will be missed greatly,” said Bussone.