Several Country Day sports teams have a tradition: every year, at the end of the regular season, the coach and players honor seniors on the team by making speeches and giving them gifts.
This year, Alexa Mathisen was the only senior on the girls’ varsity basketball team.
Mathisen’s family gathered with the team on Feb. 15, immediately after they beat Buckingham Charter, 51-43. Mathisen’s sister, sophomore Bella, as well as coach Latonia Pitts and junior Yasmin Gupta made speeches about Mathisen to celebrate the culmination of her last high-school basketball season.
Mathisen scored 14 points in the game, her season high.
“We had great passing and defense,” Mathisen said of the game. “It was a close game and very aggressive.”
The Cavs led for most of the first half, but Buckingham fought back just before halftime.
“The end of our second quarter was really bad,” junior Annya Dahmani said. “We were up by 10, and then in the last two minutes the other team caught up. They were down by (only) one at (halftime).”
“In the first half we rushed on offense, making hurried passes and plays that got picked off,” sophomore Heidi Johnson said.
However, the Cavs widened their lead and improved their performance in the second half.
Johnson attributes this improvement to perseverance.
“We cleaned up our defense (and) made smarter passes,” Johnson said.
“We won because of our drive (to not) give up and hitting our last few shots without rushing and turning the ball over,” she said.
The outcome was a great improvement over their 27-34 loss to Buckingham on Jan. 20.
“(On Jan. 20) we missed a lot of shots, we rushed on offense and our defense wasn’t very tight,” sophomore Emily Hayes said. “Last night we really stepped it up on defense, made our shots and worked well together moving the ball on offense.”
The Cavaliers have clinched a spot in the playoffs and will face off against Forest Lake at home, on Tuesday, Feb. 21, at 7 p.m. The Cavs are 13-5; Forest Lake is 12-9.
—By Garrett Shonkwiler