Drowning out the noise

Girls basketball team feels pressure as state nears


Sree Kolli, Online Editor

The sounds of the basketball thudding on the sneaker-scuffed floor is all the players can hear as they make their way across the court after scoring on the previous play.

“Everything else is white noise,” head coach David Diehl said.

After making it all the way to the first round of the state championship last year, the MN girls varsity basketball team are tuning everything else out to reach even greater heights this year, amassing seven straight wins right from the start.

However, after the seventh win, two consecutive losses to Millard West both by less than two points crushed team morale. The week right after, the girls faced yet another heartbreaking defeat to Pius X, with a score of 55-51.

“After losing to Pius two weeks ago that was our third loss in those last four games. Last year in total we only lost three games and we’d already totaled that in 10. It was eye-opening to see what can happen if we keep losing,” junior guard Asia Bryant said.

After the three-game losing streak, team spirit was at an all-time low. But this didn’t stop the athletes from focusing on the game and the game only. The girls practiced till perfection as they prepared for their next game, which just happened to be the second best team in the state, Millard South.

“It’s a grind. They had to communicate and work together to optimize our offensive and defensive efficiency. If we had played as individuals then we’d never be as good as we could be. Focus on the small things,” head coach David Diehl said.

Through a week’s worth of intensive drilling, the girls added another victory with a score of 55-54.

“Beating Millard South was one of the best feelings I’ve ever had while playing basketball. This was the first time we beat them in three years. It showed people how good we still are,” Bryant said.

After coming out on top over Millard South, the girls tackled the next biggest threat in Nebraska: Papillon La Vista. Initially, this seemed daunting as Papillion La Vista was ranked number one in state and held a record of 17-1. However, the Mustangs ended the game with a score of 62-33. Small forward Lauren West scored a total of 23 points. “We have a lot of good players, a good post, and two good guards. You could say we dominated the game,” Diehl said.

The very next week the Mustangs took another huge win over Grand Island 81-36.

As spirits are back on the rise, and the girls are now ranked number one, the team set their eyes on the next big challenge, the state title.

“Because we are ranked high, every team we play will give us their best shot and do all they can to beat us. The white noise just has to stay like it is,” junior point guard Nicole Avilla-Ambrosi said.

The girls have five games left of regular season and pressures are building.

“If you don’t want that pressure, then go get a job. Go somewhere else. It’s just something you have to accept. The team wants to win pretty badly, especially our seniors. If they’re not motivated to win a state title, then they need to check their pulse!” Diehl said.
Pushing aside the white noise, the players will continue to focus on the basketball thudding down the court with the goal of a state title.