7th and 8th Grade Lady Eagles Basketball Team has been anything but ordinary this year. This group of girls who had never played together before banded together at the start of the season with big dreams and heartfelt determination. Learning each other’s rhythms on the court was a big part of their training, alongside the fact that they were still working to master game strategies.
The season started early in November, and the junior high girls were one of the first teams on the hardwood. Uncertain of what other teams would present, the girls prepared the best they could. Countless shooting drills, reviewing the intricacies of the many transitions in the sport, and simple passing techniques were just a few of the skills the team worked on to improve.
The first game of the season proved to be one of the toughest. Without a full roster, the team trekked down to Seabrook to face off in the season starter game. It was a tough battle and the newness of the team affected their confidence, but a leader emerged during that game. She was willing to drive the team to play a better game. Chyna Bullen, playing point, led the team to a near victory performance. After losing the first game by only one point, the team realized they needed each member to play. Basketball is a team sport and together each member makes the team better.
From that game forward, the team was determined to work, learn, help, have fun playing, and finally to win. Putting up with their coach’s antics and phraseology the team did just that! The girls defeated each team in the GENH league, raising the hopes of returning to one game that they all sincerely wanted to be in and win—the championship.
Along the way, players rose and faced challenges that grew them as individual players and as a team. Madison Thyng and Aby Matthews proved to have a valuable outside shot. Cora Hodgdon, Lena Tobin, Clara Kohl, and Katie Raymond became important glue in the rotation. Emma Corson, Maggie Joyce, Lauren Michaud, Adah Keeney, Bailey Ouellette, and Amy Cunningham showed dedication and undeniable heart, which gave the team spunk both on the court and off. Chloe Benelli’s steadfast leadership proved valuable to the team. Chyna Bullen was dedicated to sharing her knowledge and skills of the game with the team and this helped firm up game strategies and improved not only her skills but those of the team as a whole.
Together the girls dreamed and hoped as they faced off against team after team. They ended the league season as the solid number one seed with a record of seven and one and prepared for play-offs. They worked hard and prepared for the tough games to come, wanting to make it all the way to the championship game and win a history making banner. The first game had the Lady Eagles facing off against Wakefield, who proved to be a worthy opponent and tested the fortitude of the team. Two of PCA’s players fouled out of the game and the last few minutes were intense, but the girls fought and won a hard earned place in the championship game.
It all came down to this final game against Seabrook. The team that began the season was now to be the final game the team played in as well. The camaraderie was high amongst the team and the school. PCA fans filled most of the bleachers and cheered their hearts out filling the gym with PCA pride.
The game was a vigorous and lengthy battle, taking the girls to the brink of their skills and emotions. Down by five with 40 seconds left on the clock, the girls refocused themselves during a quick timeout with prayer. That has become practice for the team in the heat of a game or if they start to feel themselves not maintaining their level of sportsmanship. They stop to recognize who gave them their competitive spirit and opportunity in the first place.
Determination set in and a fight to the finish that ended the regulation game in a tie! With two seconds on the clock, Chloe secured a much needed steal and pass up the court to Chyna who put down a basket to send the game into overtime. In overtime, the tie held up until the last 30 seconds of the game where PCA scored another basket which leading them to victory.
PCA history was made February 2, 2014, as the girls secured a long desired title as league champions! When asked what she was thinking at the end of the game, Coach Monahan said, “A Vince Lombardi quote was rattling around in my brain: ‘All right mister, let me tell you what winning means, you’re willing to go longer, work harder, give more than anyone else’ and we celebrated in that moment, knowing we did just that. We fought and won, not for ourselves individually; but for our school, for our fans, for our team and most importantly to give God the glory.”
Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
– Colossians 3:17