Although the girls’ varsity basketball team made it to playoffs and hoped to make it past semifinals, their post-league legacy lasted for only a single game.
The Cavs were defeated, 59-69, by Forest Lake in the first round of playoffs on Feb. 21.
However, this wasn’t for lack of trying. The girls worked very hard, according to sophomore Emily Hayes.
The other team was just better with their rebounds, shots and speed, she said.
Coach Latonia Pitts noted how the other team seized and kept the lead.
“They fought hard and did a great job,” she said. “Also, they totally beat us on the boards, and we knew we needed to control the boards in order to win.”
So maybe it was simply an unfortunate match.
But regardless of the other team’s ability, the biggest contributor to the loss was a slow first half. In the second half the girls scored 41 points, compared to 18 in the first.
“We could not find our groove, missing shots that we normally make consistently,” Pitts said. “We started to lose our stamina due to turnovers and missed shots.”
“We didn’t play (to) our full potential,” junior Yasmin Gupta, the lead scorer with 32 points, said.
Team members were unsure of what went wrong but had their theories.
Gupta suggested that practice over the three-day weekend would have helped, and senior Alexa Mathisen agreed.
“We took a long time to warm up in (the) game,” sophomore Heidi Johnson said.
Mathisen also said that nerves might have been a factor in the sluggish start.
Not only was the first half slow, but so were the girls.
Gupta said they weren’t fast enough on the full-court press, and junior Annya Dahmani said it was hard for the girls to break Forest Lake’s defense.
Although they started in the standard zone defense, the man-on-man defense later implemented by Forest Lake deterred the Cavs, putting them down 19 points before they managed to turn things around.
And by then it was too late for a comeback.
It was close in the last few minutes of the game after the team finally found its momentum, and the lead dwindled to seven.
But while the girls were finally coming together, their opponents had been united since the beginning, according to Johnson.
Fouls and free throws made by the other team brought the lead back up to 10, cementing the win for Forest Lake.
Gupta called the final game of the season “disappointing.”
As a senior, Mathisen was also let down.
“I know we were better than that team,” she said. “We had a lot of potential and could’ve gone farther.”
Despite how easily the other team pulled ahead in the beginning, players and coach alike agreed that Forest Lake was not the superior team.
Dahmani said they were not as good as Valley Christian.
“There was nothing really special about them except for their height (and using it) to rebound,” she said.
And Pitts was adamant that the Cavs should have won.
“They were by far not more talented than us,” Pitts said. “We just happened to run out of game time by the time we got in our groove.”
—By Mohini Rye