Guest Commentary: Basketball builds family — a family of athletes

In my last piece, I wrote a lot about specific games and how we did against the teams we played, so I figured it was time that I shined a light on a very important aspect of playing basketball; my family. And no, I don’t mean my mom, dad and new puppy. I’m talking about my basketball sisters.

We play, travel and practically live together for five months. It’s amazing how much you learn about someone in that amount of time; I know I love what I’ve learned. Here are the highlights:

Alissa Cole, a senior, is a constant fireball of energy on and off the court, bringing the intensity and love for the game of basketball every day. In games she is often times the one diving on the floor after a loose ball or tying up a loose ball. She is a great vocal leader, always encouraging us to bring the energy every day.

Maggie Box, our other senior leader, tends to lead by example. I see her every day giving high fives and encouraging people with her actions. On the court she is able to see plays before they happen. Plus, she hit a couple crucial free throws to give us the lead against Mount Edgecumbe in our Winter Carnival Tournament. Although she is often quiet, Maggie is definitely a great leader to have on our team.

“We have the fastest girl in the state on our team,” Coach Chad Felice often says.

He is absolutely right. Kailee Veldstra, a junior who also runs track, is the fastest girl I’ve ever seen. Her speed contributes greatly to the team because she can beat anyone down the court. She also has a beautiful shot. She is always looking to cheer her teammates up and give them a pat on the back, making sure that her teammates are keeping their heads up.

Another junior, Cora Parish, is always picking up her teammates and cheering everyone on. I don’t think I’ve ever heard her not cheering. Cora is always letting you know that you’re good and to keep working hard. A plus is that when Cora is on the court she is on a mission to find the basket and make her shots, and that is exactly what she does.

Alia Bales, who is also a junior, gets aggressive when she is out on the court. She is always tenacious in getting after loose balls and hustling to get a back tip. She is definitely not afraid to dive on the floor. Off the court, Alia is fun to be around. She is always making witty comments that make us laugh.

Rylee Doughty, a sophomore, is very short compared to a lot of other girls who play basketball, but she makes up for her height by being sneaky. She seems to be everywhere on the court, hustling in and getting a lot of rebounds. Rylee is always smiling. It is contagious, making everyone around her smile, too.

Marina Carroll, another sophomore, gets many of our key rebounds and wins tip offs with her jumping skills. She is also quick on her feet allowing her to get back tips and make hustle plays. Marina helps us with talk on the court. She is always chattering on defense, letting everyone know what is happening.

Kelli Bishop, our last sophomore, gets out on the court and doesn’t play scared. She always looks like she is having fun. Off the court, Bishop is a hilarious person to be around. She is often times seen rapping along to songs that most of us haven’t heard of and we stand there astonished by how good she is.

Anna Godfrey, a freshman, is frequently seen rapping with Kelli. She is one of the funniest people I have ever met and always keeps us laughing with her humorous comments and jokes. She attacks the basketball well. She also gets a lot of rebounds, plucking them from the hands of shorter players.

Grace Godfrey, also a freshman, always brings the energy during games. She gets hyped up when anyone makes a great play and this brings the entire team energy up too. With this energy comes active defense which gets her a lot of steals. She is always lifting her teammates up.

And of course we cannot forget our amazing managers, Brooke Knott and Katie Clark. They do all the behind the scenes work: running the clock during practice, filling water bottles, getting tissues for those who tend to forget them all the time (i.e. me). That’s only scratching the surface for of what they do for us. They are two sisters we couldn’t live without.

Together we make up one big, happy family. Sure, we may fight, we may argue and get on each other’s nerves, but in the end it doesn’t matter. If you read the back of our warm-up shirts you will see one of our team mottos: Forget About Me I Love You. We love each other and that is what makes a family, and a team.

As our regular season comes to a close, we would appreciate your support tonight and tomorrow at our last home games taking place at 6:30 p.m. in the Alice Witte Gymnasium. Tomorrow night is Senior Night so please come support our amazing senior leaders.

Rylyn Todd is a Lady Mariner on the varsity basketball team and a junior at Homer High School. She is providing commentary this season from the perspective of a player on the team.