Girls: Shooting For State

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Girls: Shooting For State

Senior Olivia Stephens looks to pass the ball against Ft. Zumwalt West. Stephens scored four points.

Senior Olivia Stephens looks to pass the ball against Ft. Zumwalt West. Stephens scored four points.

Megan Fisher

Senior Olivia Stephens looks to pass the ball against Ft. Zumwalt West. Stephens scored four points.

Megan Fisher

Megan Fisher

Senior Olivia Stephens looks to pass the ball against Ft. Zumwalt West. Stephens scored four points.

Alex Maisenhelder, Online Sports Editor

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The girls basketball team is coming off of a season in which they fell to MICDS in districts. However, this year they have swapped places with Ladue and are now a part of Class 5. This means that they will have new competition at the district and conference level. But the back-to-back defending Class 5 State Champions, Kirkwood, are in their district.

“We are in the hardest conference in the area,” Head Coach Brian Guilfoyle said. “Every night we have really tough games, which is good.”

They opened up their regular season with a convincing win over Parkway South 54-39, following it up with a sound win over Parkway West 58-43, and closing out the tournament with a hard-fought 61-50 win over Parkway North to secure the Tip-off Tournament; a good start to what is hopefully a successful and victory laden season.

Everyone on the team is working hard towards a collective goal: a state championship. However, for their goal to become reality everyone has to put in the work to get past the tough teams like Kirkwood. And, with only one player graduating last year, they have a head start.

“It definitely helps with chemistry on the court, and it is going to be an easier transition earlier in the season,” junior Brooke Hilton said.

Hilton is not the only returning Varsity player to feel this way.

“Our chemistry has increased so much since last year and everything clicks a lot easier,” junior Jayla Kelly said. “Everyone encourages each other and plays for each other, we don’t play for any selfish causes. We all make one another better to succeed.”

Even with strong chemistry and an impressive start, it is also key for the players to step up in the moment; just like Jayla Kelly has in the Tip-off Tournament. Posting 16 points against Parkway South, and more than 20 against Parkway West and Parkway North. Averaging 20 points a game for the tournament.

“Olivia and I are the captains, we always want to get hyped and pick ourselves and the other girls up,” Hilton said.

Hilton averaged over 12 points a game across the tournament.

With the tournament win behind them, sights are now set on the rest of the season. One team that is on most radars is Incarnate Word.

“Incarnate Word is going to be difficult,” senior Megan Stephens said.

Stephens is not the only returning starter that is looking forward to that game.

“Our toughest opponent will probably be Incarnate Word, and anybody in the Visitation tournament will be good,” Hilton said.

Incarnate Word is the defending Class 4 State Champions, and another tough team will be St. Joseph’s who were class 5 Semi-finalists last year; in addition Hazelwood Central will also be a formidable opponent, having lost to St. Joseph’s in the Quarter-final last year.

“These are all very good teams who we compete very well against or have never played before and are some of the best and toughest in the area,” Kelly said.

To compete with these good teams requires good team effort and team work.

“All of the girls play really good defense,” Guilfoyle said. “Olivia Stephens is a tremendous leader, Brooke Hilton gives us a lot of different dimensions, Kennedy Moore brings us amazing defense, Cynaa Coleman handles the ball really well for us at point, and all of our other players who are really going to contribute this year.”