As the clock ticked down to zero in the Pioneer girls’ basketball team’s Regional final loss to Wayne Memorial on Wednesday, you could see the emotion on the faces of some of the Pioneers.
Emotion can take over when you give something your all and still don’t come out victorious. But these weren’t tears of failure or even disappointment. They were tears of realizing that something special and precious was coming to an end and that a chapter in their young lives had just closed.
There should have been tears – tears of joy over what they not only accomplished but helped start. Circle this team in the history books – the 2018-19 Pioneer girls’ basketball team.
And let’s start with the seniors since they are the ones who got the ball rolling.
While these seniors – Whitney Gallagher, Nina Makhlouf, Coby LaPointe, Ilena Garett, Corine Burgard and Asaria Turman – played their final game on Wednesday night what they left behind will take the floor wearing purple and white for years to come.
Every class wants to leave its mark. Take something with them so when they look back they can point to this or that. And there is plenty to point at from this 2018-19 season. The Pioneers finished the year with a 20-6 overall record – 20 win seasons don’t come around very often. They also won an SEC Red Division title, a District title and a Regional semifinal game.
But the seniors will have more to point to than just this one season. They can take pride in what they have started and what they have started has great potential for the future.
After winning the District title on Friday, Pioneer Coach Tyrone Hicks said he was especially happy for the seniors because they were told four years ago that if they worked hard good things will happen. Well, good things didn’t happen. Great things happened.
This senior class leaves behind the blueprint for future teams to follow – this is how you do it.
Pioneer will have freshman Mya Hicks and Lauren DeWolf back in the backcourt next year. A talented duo that loves the game, works hard and now has a blueprint to follow – what a talented pair Coach Hicks has to build a team around for the next three years.
Other freshman who got a taste of varsity this year included Brein Bogan, Alexis Clark and Jada Williams. Just playing with these seniors and this team is a great experience regardless of playing time.
Three sophomores on the roster (Jackie Brines, Cassidy Spisak and Felicia Stewart) also should be back. Stewart, another guard, was a consistent player at both ends of the floor this year for the Pioneers.
Two juniors – Ashanti Turman and Suszie Atkins – will be the senior leaders next year. They certainly had a good group to show them how it’s done.
The seniors have left behind a Pioneer girls’ basketball program that is trending up and after this year – thanks to those seniors – there really isn’t that much further to go.