Girls Varsity Basketball 2015-16 Season

By Christina Spires ’16

For Catlin Gabel’s Girls Varsity Basketball team, the 2015-2016 season has been one of the most successful seasons in recent years. This season, the girls currently hold a league record of 7-8, obtaining most of their wins in the first half of the season.

This season, the team welcomed two Freshmen, Gemma Tung ’19 and Sophie Adler ’19. The rest of the team consisted of returning players from other grade levels, bringing a diverse group of personalities to the team and establishing a strong foundation for seasons to come.

The team opened with a buzzer beater win of 42-39 against Westside Christian. This carried momentum into their first 4 league contests on the road against Rainier, Warrenton, De La Salle, and Clatskanie.

Girls basketball team before the Senior Night game against OES. (Image: Courtesy of Molly Newcomer)

Girls basketball team before the Senior Night game against OES. (Image: Courtesy of Molly Newcomer)

Due to injuries, the girls struggled in the second half of league play, resulting in a streak of losses to Portland Adventist Academy, Portland Christian, De La Salle, and Clatskanie.

In their last game against rival Oregon Episcopal School (OES), the girls fell short, losing to the Aardvarks 42-48 on Senior Night. Despite the loss, the team held their heads high, preparing for their next games into play-offs.

“The season has been absolutely amazing so far,” says Co-Captain Hannah Courtney ’16. “Although we haven’t gotten the results we’ve hoped for, we have a really great group of girls and awesome coaches.”

“My freshman year we won one game– and it was pre-season,” recounts Courtney. “Now, we’ve got all kinds of strong players who all bring their own game to the team.”

Courtney, along with Janelle Gowgiel ’16 and Michaela Bennink ’16, have all played on the Varsity team since their freshman year. In the last four years, “the team has really grown closer together,” according to Courtney.

As the team has come together, bond between players and the coaching staff has gotten better in recent years as well.

Since last season, Catlin Gabel alumna Kate Williams ’01, along with the help of Anita Burdick-Denham, Lindsay Gregg, and alumni Dana Stilwell ’73 have coached the team.

“The coaches challenge me to improve as a basketball player and a leader on and off the court,” says Aliya Mahmoud ’17. “They encourage me to always work hard and inspire my teammates to grow. They care about me and the whole team, and will always be there to support us with anything.”

Williams is extremely proud of the team and how far they have come in the last two years she has been coaching.

“The Catlin team persevered through some tough games, standing at 7-8 in league, 11-11 overall heading into the final game of the regular season,” says Williams. “The team has positioned themselves nicely for a strong playoff run.”

After winning their last league game at Riverdale High School on Feb. 11, the team made it into the playoffs and placed 5th in league.

Their win against Riverdale was followed by another win in the first round of playoffs. On Feb. 15, the girls played De La Salle North Catholic at home, winning 61-44, a great turn around from their one point loss against De La Salle in overtime.

In the second round of playoffs the girls played against Rainier High School. Despite their excitement and energy going into the game, the team lost 37-57, ending their season. Although their season came to a close, the girls and coaches alike were proud of how far the team has come.

“This has been the best season I have ever played in, for I have had the opportunity to play with the most amazing teammates, and the best coaching staff around,” says Mahmoud, reflecting on the season.

“I believe with the team’s strong leadership, work ethic and desire to continue to get better, they have a great opportunity to go far,” says Williams looking towards the next season.

As the 2015-2016 season comes to a close, both coaches and returning players alike are excited and participating in a summer league in preparation for the new season.