Moments before the tip-off, as a team prepares for a potentially victorious game, even the most seasoned athletes have to consider the possibility of a loss. But adding another win to their 13-6 record, the girls´ freshman basketball team battled against Plainfield East in a game that ended with an unexpected final score of 44-10.
The girls’ team had just returned from a game against Naperville Central, days before, where they hardly won by two points. This win became the fifth game of their current streak, allowing them to approach tonight’s game with a new level of confidence. In the last two weeks they also beat the other three Plainfield schools as well as Joliet West.
While the girls were bleeding confidence, there was also some uncertainty while approaching this game as they had to strongly consider Plainfield East’s competitive record going into the game.
“[Whether we know] about the team ahead of time or not, we are always expecting a challenge and a hard game, but once we started to pull away, I think we became really confident,” Addison Parks said. “But we always come out confident.”
Annie Schiltz, one of the team’s starters and a top scorer among the freshmen, added that once the Wolves discovered that Plainfield East had just beaten Oswego, suggesting that winning the game would be a considerable challenge.
¨We didn’t know this team at all,¨ Schiltz said. ¨They didn’t have any stats up on 8to18, like their game records or number of wins, so we weren’t really sure how the game would unfold.¨
Although the game started with a lot of back and forth play, East quickly gained possession. Within the first five minutes of the game, they had already shot three successful three-pointers and a layup, putting them ahead with an 11-2 lead by the end of the first quarter.
East continued their dominance up until halftime, playing aggressively on both offense and defense and heavily pressing the other team.
Freshman Brooke White, was dominant in the second quarter, with several breakaways down the court and multiple shots on net which resulted in two successful layups. One of the things that allow her to keep composure and maintain competitiveness is knowing that these games are not high stakes.
¨It’s just a game, at this point in our careers it doesn’t matter whether we win or lose you just gotta play your best and even if you don´t, it’s okay,¨ White said.
Potentially threatened by East´s lead, Plainfield returned from halftime, introducing a new intensity into their game-play. They were unable to make a comeback and had only scored three additional points within the second and third quarter.
Freshman Mae Robinson, a dual-team athlete, felt intimidated by the intensity of the A-game.
¨I felt like I’ve worked hard to get to the position I’m in, not many athletes get to compete in both A and B games,¨ Robinson said. ¨There´s added pressure because I feel like if I mess up during the A game, I’m letting my team down and bringing in negative energy¨
While East´s girls were rather confident in their gameplay and credited their success to their ability to apply what they’ve practiced, Robinson stresses the importance of remaining focused and continuing to work hard at practice.
¨Under the pressure of the game sometimes we tend to forget the work we’ve put in and the training that led us to this point,¨ Robinson said.¨The biggest thing, in general, is remembering your training and continuing to put in the work.¨
The girls successfully maintained their lead and even extended it beyond what was expected by any of the athletes or coaches.
Because of the comfortable lead, Head Coach Gerard Vergara adapted to the direction of the game and altered his coaching approach.
¨I wanted to really focus on things we don’t usually do in a game, like trying to post up,¨ Vergara said. ¨Having such a big lead changed my way of attack. Normally we look to press and go fast pace but since we had such a big lead I really wanted to focus on our half court offense rather than our full court offense.¨
With only a few games remaining in the regular season, the girls head to West Aurora Wednesday night in hopes of continuing their win streak.
Grace Praxmarer is a staff writer for Oswego East high school’s online news magazine The Howl