Strong bonds bring girls’ basketball to winning streak

Danielle Arvanitis, Staff Reporter

The girls’ varsity basketball team started off strong with a 5-0 winning streak as they took first place at the Mundelein Thanksgiving Tournament. According to Varsity Coach Steven Weissenstein, this is not the first time they’ve won this tournament with an undefeated score.

“This is the fifth year in a row that [we have] won 5-0 at that tournament,” Weissenstein said.

To prepare for these bigger tournaments and games in general, Weissenstein will observe the other team’s strategies before the games and give each player “an assignment” when playing. According to one of the captains of the team, senior Libbie Vanderveen, Weissenstein’s efforts to help the team gain wins is very helpful.

“[Weissenstein] is helpful to us because we know which players to watch out for and how to defend their plays,” Vanderveen said.

To also help prepare for games, they do lots of drills during practice. According to Weissenstein, as lots of members of the team are very athletic, some don’t have time to practice offseason for the team.

“We have really good athletes on our team. Some of our girls don’t have a lot of time to work on basketball,” Weissenstein said. “In practice, we got a lot of shooting so that their basketball skills can catch up to their athleticism.”

The girls work to create a strong bond with each other, according to senior guard Emily Castelli.

“Everyone on the team gets along well,” Castelli said. “Even though the season just started, it’s clear that there is a strong bond.”

Not only is the team driven to work together, but according to Vanderveen, the captains try to help build a bond on and off the court.

“We try and get the team to form a friendship outside of basketball so we work better on the court together,” Vanderveen said.

Finally, according to Weissenstein, if someone does something wrong, he pulls them aside and explains to them how to do it correctly.

This strategy benefits the players and makes the practices and games more positive, according to Castelli.

“The positivity that he brings to the team motivates everyone to work hard,” Castelli said.  
Finally, as the team has goals as a whole, the players have individual goals this season. According to Vanderveen, one of these goals seems to be her intentions to become a role model for the younger players on the team.

“My personal goals include being a good leader for my younger teammates,” Vanderveen said. “I want them to be able to look up to me and give the same amount of effort that I give.”

Castelli also wants to help boost the team’s motivation as one of her personal goals.

“My goal for this year is to be a supportive teammate on and off the court,” Castelli said.

According to Vanderveen, encouragement is very important to keep the team motivated.

“We have to keep the energy up during the games we are losing so the team doesn’t lose hope,” Vanderveen said.