Women’s basketball secures conference championship

The women’s varsity basketball team went undefeated in their conference and the state of Nevada this season after defeating Desert Oasis 64-50 on February 8.

The team beat all of the top opponents they lost to last year including the Liberty Patriots and Desert Oasis Diamondbacks.

“Being undefeated was definitely a huge accomplishment for us and it makes me really proud of my team. Hopefully we can take state,” shooting guard Ella Zanders said.

In the first quarter, the Grizzlies were up by four points with of score 20-16. At halftime, the Grizzlies remained up by four at 36-32. In the third quarter, the Grizzlies struck up an 11-point lead, and continued to finish out the game 64-50.

Even though they went 18-12 last season, it proved not good enough for the team. With a chip on their shoulder, the Grizzlies made this season even better with a 26-2 record and conference title. The team lost to nationally ranked Pinewood High School (#4) and Highlands Ranch High School from Colorado.

“The weight training we added to the schedule has made us tremendously stronger, it allows us to play with more confidence and be more physical,” Womens’ varsity Coach Billy Hemberger said.

The loss against the top three teams last year shaped the teams foundation and improved their work ethic to be where they are now, Hemberger said.

“We would destroy our team from last year, now we have a tougher mentality,” Hemberger said.

Close to being state champions for the second time, though in a different division from last year, makes it more difficult to win it all Hemberger said.

The two teams who posed a challenge to the Grizzlies were Liberty and Desert Oasis. This year Liberty ranked No. 3 and DO ranked No. 4 in the state. Last season the Grizzlies were neck-in-neck with the first match up against the teams. The Patriots defeated the Grizzlies with the score of 47-46 and the Diamondbacks defeated them with a score of 57-52. The Grizzlies knew there was room for improvement.

“Our team is way better than it was last year; our defensive energy, we’re more disciplined, we compete harder.” Shooting forward Kayla Harris said.

The team won a close game against the Patriots with a score of 67-65 on December 30, in their first meeting.

“The two-point win meant a lot to me,” Shooting guard Essence Booker said.

“They were ranked above us to start the season off, due to an athlete transfer, so we had something to prove. We wanted to prove that we were the better team and that the rankings were inaccurate.”

The team went against them again on January 29th and beat them by 13 points with a score of 60-47.

“Once you start winning you have a target on your back, so you have to work harder than you did the last time,” Kayla Harris said.