by Cooper Lewis – Staff Reporter
For the second season in a row, the girls’ basketball team is heading to the Dome.
In order to get to the state competition again, on Feb 14, the girls had to beat Tahoma. They won 59-37 with senior Kiley Johnson scoring 14 points and senior Gabby Bruno scoring 12.
The game before they lost to Kentridge 53-36.
The first playoff was against Puyallup, at home, because they were the second seed. After a slow start, they beat Puyallup 57-26. Emma Jackson 17 points off the bench.
At 20-4, the team has experienced many successes so far this year. Often time coaches have 2-3 players they use throughout the entire game, but Hilburn plays all nine-varsity girls, keeping everyone fresh. The team is deep with ability.
“If this is what he [Coach Hilburn] wants me to do, and what the team needs me to do, then I’ll be happy to do it.” Basketball captain, senior Jada Leonard said.
It seems as if all the basketball team girls this season have lived by Leonard’s motto. Currently, they are ranked 9 by the Tacoma Tribune in the NPSL 4A Cascade League behind Kentridge High School.
Leonard said, “It’s just a result of all our hard work over the years that we put together to get in this position…it feels really good. We have an amazing coach (GC Hilburn) and he lead us to state last year when it was his first year coaching us. And this year he’s kind of putting it on our shoulders. [He wants us] to be selfless and like reach our potential and do everything that we can to make it a team effort.”
Sydney Petersen said, “Hilburn is really good at knowing where to put people. He’s a smart coach. He takes advantage of mismatches.”
This year, 12 teams go to state. Teams are ranked according to their RPI (rating percentage index) instead of seating. Because the Falcons’ RPI puts them at #2, their first regional game is against Todd Beamer High School. Regardless of what happens against Beamer, the girls will compete against Bellarmine Prep High School after that. If they win against Bellarmine Prep, they receive a bye, which would be beneficial because the next game is loser out and the bye would automatically get them further.
Leonard plays for her teammates, “I definitely just like the love of the team, I’ve been playing with Sidney and Kylee since my freshman year on varsity and honestly, if they weren’t playing I’m not sure if I would be.”
Gabby Bruno is proud to be on one of the best teams in the state. “It feels amazing, coming in new to the team, and being so successful is a great feeling. All of these girls are amazing players and work hard to continue to play on college teams.”
Senior Sydney Petersen has sat the season out because of an injury; however, she has still taken an active role in the team. Petersen said, “I’m more of a cheerleader and coach this year. I help the team stay positive. After the games, Hilburn asks me what I saw during the game, and what I think worked. He looks for different perspectives. I’ve learned a lot about the game; I have a new perspective on it.”
After Bellarmine, every game will have to be earned.