Hezekiah Smithstein | firstname.lastname@example.org | February 19, 2019
During the last game of the girls Varsity basketball season, emotions in the Oracle gym were running high: Sadness, because the two senior members of the team would be playing their last game ever. Nervousness, because they were about to play in front of the full stands of a raucous d.tech crowd. And excitement, because they had a chance to become 7-7 for the best d.tech girls basketball record and eligibility for a playoff spot.
Despite an electrifying performance by the team en route to 44 points and a 44-32 victory over San Francisco Christian School, the team, coached by Aaliyah Monroe and Quincy Stamper, fell just short of a playoff spot. The team reached 7-7, but due to losing a preseason game to Oceana and being compared to tougher competition as a Division 4 team (500 students or more) instead of Division 5, the team fell just short of a playoff spot. Although this was disappointing news, the girls were happy with the outcome of their season and the close bonds they built together as a team.
In the beginning of the season, no one was quite sure what the team would look like. Senior Remi Tateishi explains that she and others returning to the team “weren’t exactly looking forward to it, because we just lost five seniors and they were a big part of the team.” Despite losing so many members, and their shaky start to the season, everyone practiced hard and the team rapidly improved. “It was just night and day, the beginning of the season to the end of season,” Tateishi explains. “I’m really proud of everyone and [the season] was really really fun- definitely one to remember.” Sophomore Cassie Tse agrees that it was contribution from the whole team that made this season special, saying, “We didn’t just rely on only one person.”
The cohesiveness of the team didn’t just end on the court: the team became much closer off the court as well. Part of what made the team so successful was “the communication that we had and the relationships that we built,” explains senior Alexxus Faalogoifo, and those relationships came through with “a lot of team bonding.” At first, Faalogoifo was hesitant to become close to the team, since she was a senior and would be leaving leaving after this year. “I did not want to be a part of [all of the team bonding activities], because if I got close to them it would be super sad to leave and I did not want that,” Faalogoifo says, “but it happened.” At the end of the day, for Faalogoifo, it was worth it. “They are all really good girls. They are so supportive and helpful with everything,” Faalogoifo says fondly.
As one of the few returners to the team, sophomore Natalie Cheung also stepped into a leadership role to help the team’s rebuild. “It was my job, as [a returner to the team], to make the team feel like a whole community, and a family,” Cheung explains, “Everyone has really improved and we have really bonded as a team.”
Senior Night itself was a night to remember. “It was really intense and nerve wracking, but it was really fun,” Faalogoifo remembers. “It was a full house so it was really intense.” Tateishi agrees that Senior Night was definitely anxiety provoking, but added that seeing “everyone come and support us it’s just really great to know that, sure, we are a really small school, but it really shows that we are a tight-knit community.” Cheung, who scored the first six points of the game, said: “We had to do this for the seniors because they contributed so much to the team. We just all played our best, we tried our best and it payed off.” Tateishi hopes the tradition will continue, saying, “It’s a fun way to not only honor the seniors but to create a tradition at d.tech and get the whole school closer.”
The two seniors were definitely close to their team. Cheung says, “Remi and Alexxus are really important members of the team and it won’t be the same without them.” It isn’t all bad news, however, as Tateishi plans to be back. “I’m looking forward to come back and watch the girls and see the program grow,” Tateishi says. “I’m sure the program will be very very very good in the next few years, so I look forward to that.” The future of the girls Varsity basketball team seems to be looking up.