BY GABRIELLA MASTER
The girls basketball team has started the season hot, winning six of their first seven games. Last night, they beat South Brunswick by one, scoring the winning basket with seven seconds left in the game.
“Going into this season we didn’t know what to expect, but we knew we were a special group of girls that can be something great,” Gabrielle Walker explained. Walker leads the team in assists with 28 and steals with 27, including 5 of each in the South Brunswick game.
Last year’s team finished 4-6, so the they have already surpassed last year’s win total. “All the girls have been determined to comeback stronger and hopefully have a winning season!” said senior Payton Alcorn, who leads the team in 3-pointers with 14 after sinking four against South Brunswick.
Coach Alec Alspach, who is in his 6th year coaching basketball and 4th as the Girls varsity head coach, makes it clear how proud he is of the squad. “The team is 6-1 at this point, and the girls have worked incredibly hard on a daily basis to be the best teammates and representatives of Old Bridge High School they can.”
The team definitely stresses chemistry and character. “We are supportive teammates, and we communicate well with each other,” Leena Tran stated. Tran leads the team with 95 points, reaching double digits in six of the team’s seven games.
Coach Alspach makes it clear that it isn’t all about the wins. “This season we hope to compete every time we are on the floor, and utilize the beautiful game of basketball to create empowered young women,” said Alspach.
“As a team our motto is PEP – ‘Pride Effort Persistence,’ and this year we have been really determined to embrace this attitude on the court and off,” said Alcorn. The team displayed their persistence even in their tough loss to St. Thomas Aquinas, the number one team in the Red Division, when they battled back from a 37-23 halftime deficit but fell short by just five points.
The team bounced back from Tuesday’s loss and showed similar determination in last night’s back-and-forth game against South Brunswick, which Abigail Jazmin iced with seven seconds left on the clock. Jazmin said, “I was really focused on winning the game and closing it out because we worked very hard last night.”
In addition to racking up exciting victories, the team is already collecting awards. Tran earned the first Jersey Sports Zone Central Jersey Game Ball of the season by garnering 17,000 votes. “I am so grateful for all the love and support I received from the Old Bridge Community, and those who took time out of their day to vote for me. I would also like to thank my teammates and coaches for contributing to my 18 points in our Edison game; I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them.” The Edison game wasn’t even Tran’s most dominant performance; in the previous game against Matawan, Tran scored 21 of the Knights’ 52 points compared to Matawan’s 25-point total.
According to the players, they are determined to build on their early success. “We are 6-1 so far but we’re nowhere near finished!” Gabby Walker explained. The team faces Monroe at 1pm tomorrow at home.
Photos by Gaby Master