Girls basketball off to hot start


photo by Chatham Farrell

Forward Aryann Johnson goes up for a layup against Winter Springs. The team won and began the season 5-0.

Starting off the season with five straight wins, the girls basketball team is off to one of the best starts in recent history. Led by senior forwards Megan Reilly and Aryann Johnson, this team has an experienced front court and three wins over conference opponents.

In previous years, the girls have never won a conference championship, and defeating three of the teams in a five game span was a huge confidence boost for the team.

“Staring off the year this strong has been really motivating for the team,” Reilly said. “We haven’t started this strong in the past years so I think we just need to keep this energy for the rest of the season.”

The team started off the season strong, but the past two games have not lived up to that expectation. On Friday, Dec. 7, the girls faced off against Oviedo in their most exciting game of the season. The game was back and forth all the way to the final buzzer but the team came up short losing 37-36. Losing to Oviedo always hurts but the girls had no time to dwell on it as they faced off against Evans the next day.

In the game against Evans, the team also faced a tough one point loss and is now off on a two week road game streak including games as far as Melbourne and St. Cloud.

“All of those road games are probably going to take a toll on our momentum just because we are travelling so much,” Reilly said. “We also won’t have as many practices because a lot of the games are back to back so I think we just need to keep focused through it all.”

Reilly, a fourth year varsity player, has been able to use her experience to lead the team through the first part of the season. In the second game of the season, a 55-47 win over conference opponent Lake Brantley, Reilly totaled 21 points along with three rebounds and then dropped another 21 points two games later against Winter Springs. Other than scoring her major role, she says, is helping the younger teammates adapt.

“We try to just help them wherever we see they need it,” Reilly said. “Whether it’s shooting, dribbling or whatever we just try to help them develop as players.”

Reilly and the other seniors’ leadership has not gone unnoticed either as sophomore Natalia Cruz has also become a big part of the team’s success, dropping nine points in a 59-43 win over Forest Lake Academy.

The team has a chip on their shoulder this year to prove that they are one of the best teams in the conference and they could very well prove that this year with this group of girls. They know how to play as a team, and do everything that head coach Joshua Johns tells them to do.

“These girls are amazing,” Johns said. “We have a really great atmosphere on this team and things haven’t really gone as planned the past couple of years but I feel like with this team we can really make a push.”

The team’s next game is Monday, Dec. 17 against Winter Springs who they beat earlier in the year. The team has all the momentum they need, now it’s just up to them to keep it.