Girls Basketball Team Repeats As Division Champs!

girls-basketball-team-2017Jayden Libby, Veritas Staff

The Rockland girls varsity basketball team this year is looking very good, holding a record of 12-4 going into the last week of the regular season.

They have also clinched at least a tie for the championship of  the SSL Sullivan Division for the second year in a row with an 10-2 league record. They will win the title outright if they win on Thursday.

Coach Diana Mitchell, captain Erika  Ochenduszko, and teammate  Adiza Alasa were interviewed  by The Veritas this month about their formula for success.

Alasa was asked who the spirit of the team is. In reply she gave credibility to the entire team and to Coach Mitchell.  She said,  “A lot of our energy comes from our coach.”

Ochenduszko agreed strongly. She said, “We couldn’t be doing what we are doing without each other, so we all are the spirit.”

Coach Mitchell  said, “I think our spirit comes in different forms and just not necessarily one person. They all have their different personalities and bring different characteristics to the team.”

Both Alasa and Ochenduszko agreed that Caroline Elie, freshman point guard, is going to be a future star on this team.  Ochenduszko gave more details why Elie will be a star. She said, “Caroline can handle the ball very well and is a good perimeter shooter.”

Another star player coming up is  freshman center, Hannah Wylie.

Ochenduszko said, “Hannah’s post defense is great. She can block anyone who comes into the paint.”

Coach Mitchell believes EVERY underclassman on  the team can and, she hopes, will be a future star.  She strongly believes they all have the ability, but it will depend on their individual work ethic.

While Alasa does not  think  her team could win a state title this year,  Ochenduszko thinks otherwise. She said she believes in her coach and her teammates and that they could be #1 in the state.

Coach Mitchell said, “I mean yes, that is the ultimate goal every year, but it is so incredibly hard to get there. I think that if we are playing at our best going into the tournament we have a chance to beat any team in Division 3.”

Ochenduszko and her coach are on the same page when asked about playing the boys’ varsity in an eight minute game. They believe it would be a tie game. Alasa answered with another “No.” She thinks that the boys are “stronger, faster, and more physical than the girls.”

Considering an unsung hero, Coach Mitchell had a hard time making a  pick.

She said, “I’m not sure if we have just one. We have had a lot of consistency from the players, and there have been so many of them who have stepped up in different spots. I do have to say that senior Emily Beatrice has been a great 6th man for us and has played consistently well all year, and our other senior, Lexi Murphy has been the ultimate team player for us.”

The girls are hoping to finish strong with three nonleague games remaining.

On Wednesday they play Arlington Catholic in Arlington. They will close out the regular season with a tournament at St. Mary’s Lynn on Feb. 19 and 20.