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The Pioneer

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The Pioneer

The Pioneer

The Girls Basketball Team Is Dominating but Still Hungry for More

WOHS Sports Media
The girls basketball team get ready to play against #9 Bayonne. WO is victorious: score 35-27.

The WOHS girls basketball team has had a dominating season. They appeared in the NJ High School Girls Basketball Rankings top 20 list for the first time in school history (which they still occupy as of 1/18), went undefeated in the Florida KSA Tournament despite the team “traveling [long-distance]…for the first time”, gave all of WO a present as they went undefeated in the West Orange Holiday Showcase, and have had one of their best seasons yet.

One factor of the team’s success is the “time in the preseason” Coach Williams said they were putting in. This has paid out as numerous stand-out players have emerged throughout the first 15 games of their season, including, but not limited to, Mya Bushrod, Adrienne Taylorkamara, and freshman standout Rhyan Watt, along with others.  

It also helps that two stars have stepped up to lead the team in a combined 8 statistical categories, those being Parisi Fairfield/Sideline Chatter Athlete of the Week junior Kyley Gary-Grayson, who leads the team in points (188), assists (19), three-pointers made (19), free throws made (33), and steals (43), and Anaya Karriem who leads the team in two-pointers made (55), rebounds (166), and blocks (42). (Throughout their first 15 games as of 1/18).

However, despite both the individual and team success of the early season, it still isn’t enough for the Mountaineers. As Coach Williams stated in a pre-season interview, “We won the county…that’s not enough anymore…We need to make sure that [a championship] happens this year with the group we have, so making the States is not good enough. Making the semi-finals [is not good enough] anymore. We need…to win it all”. 

Before the Mountaineers think about states, though, they need to think about their biggest roadblocks to States’ glory. University and Montclair Immaculate have consistently been the teams beating WOHS out for the SEC Championship since the 2018-19 season when the Mountaineers last topped the county. Yet, the Mountaineers aren’t scared of them. Coach Williams even went as far as to say that the team is “coming for them this year” and that “that statement needs to be repeated.”

So, what will be the factors that could potentially lead to a WOHS girls basketball State Championship and the final dethroning of Immaculate and University? The coaching staff believes in defense and mental fortitude. Coach Williams believes mental fortitude has been “one of the biggest issues” for the team “because when [the team’s] mental status changes, the way that [the team is] approaching the situation changes, and then the way [they] play the game changes.” Coach Williams is getting the team “to approach every situation to combat this.” If the Mountaineers can adopt this new strategy, it can help them take on stressful situations and reign over the SEC. But, it isn’t the only strategy the team needs as the Mountaineer coaching staff believes that there needs to be more “of an emphasis on defense” and that “focusing on [defense] will really help [them] to make that mental leap” and that the team is “right there…and [the coaching staff] think[s] that [defense] has been…what they’re missing.” 

So, can this team go all the way with their determination, new strategies, and star-studded roster? Very likely. Nonetheless, no matter what happens, Immaculate and University should be scared of the storm that is brewing in the neighboring town that will hit them real soon.

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