Scoreboard doesn’t tell whole story
‘The thing I admire most about them is that they don’t give up.’
Defeated. Again. It’s enough to make the strongest person give up, go home, and call it a day.
But the Peabody-Burns girls basketball team members are stronger than most.
Do they enjoy losing? No.
“I’m tired of getting my butt beat every game,” sophomore Sarah Spencer said. “But every time I come back, there’s a chance to win.”
The girls’ team and many cheerleaders spoke strongly of their relationship as a family. They count on one another for support on and off the court.
Their seasons of loss are very discouraging but their faith in each other carries them through defeats, helps them learn, and enables them to grow stronger and come back another day.
“The thing I admire most is that they don’t give up,” Sophomore Kaete Johnson’s mom, Melissa said, “They can be behind by a lot. They still go after the ball, they still show up the next day.”
Supporting each other, in the ups and downs of games, is key for the team’s confidence.
“These girls always know how to cheer me up or cheer each other up when we have bad days. We’re family,” freshman Skylre Stucky said.
Freshman Ariana Marcenaro said she probably wouldn’t have gotten to know some of her teammates, and she wouldn’t have learned how amazing they were.
“I love how we are so bonded through the game that we can always count on each other,” freshman Ariana Marcenaro said.
The Warriors have had a long streak of bad luck, with numerous coaching changes over the last five to six years, low participation, and lack of knowing fundamentals.
“It’s been hard because the girls have had four or five new coaches in the last five to six year, including during middle school,” Stephanie Winters, sophomore Mya’s mother, said.
Peabody-Burns youth have not had a recreational program to learn the fundamentals at an earlier age over the past few years.
As a result, most members are learning the basics when they walk on the court as sixth graders.
“The girls weren’t properly taught fundamentals when they were younger, since they didn’t have a program,” coach Travis Schafer said. “We’re learning them now.”
Another area where the team struggles is finding enough players to field a team.
“This year we have eight to nine players to take some of the stress off,” Johnson said.
The lack of consistency has contributed to lower numbers but the team hopes this year’s efforts and a new coach who is invested in the group, will encourage more girls to join.
“I almost didn’t come back this year,” senior T.J. Clover said. “I was really frustrated over the past years but I knew we didn’t have very many people. But I was needed, even though I’m not the 100 percent best player out there.”
Schafer praised the leadership of his two seniors for being positive, coachable, and having strong work ethic.
“I feel completely awful for the two seniors on the team, but I think they understand what we’re in right now,” he said. “We’re facing competition that is much stronger than we are, much faster than we are, and I’m done using that as an excuse but it’s true.”
Saying it’s going to be a rough year is an understatement, but one the girls feel they can improve on.
“They have the will to want to be good, to be better,” Schafer said. “It’s really going to tell these girls’ character at the end of the season.”
The ladies’ strength of character and perseverance has not been in question.
“They are fighting as hard as they can,” cheerleader Kalea Craig said. “Even when it doesn’t turn out to be what they want, it all comes down that they are working together as a family, being a team.”
Cheerleaders Kalea, Breanna Lett, Lexi Schreiber, Hadley Clark and Madelain Beal agree that their cheers help motivate the girls and the crowd.
“I feel bad because they get down on themselves but they are also working hard to get better,” Hadley said. “We’re here to make them feel better and keep fighting.”
Lack of height and experience has worked against the Warriors.
“We are a growing team, a learning team,” senior Sydney Hodges said. “Not only do we learn about basketball, we’re learning life skills, too.”
Those life skills are teaching them that life is hard but “you have to come back,” she said. “We talk a lot about doing it for each other and being selfless, living life for other people.”
During summer, the girls embraced community service opportunities around town and learned a lot about themselves individually and as a group.
With their determination, persistence, positivity, and courage, the team looks forward to good things coming their way.
Johnson is optimistic for the future.
“We have to focus on our little goals,” she said.
Dogged determination keeps the Warriors coming back each game. The end goal remains getting their first win, but the small victories they achieve inspire hope.
“The reason I keep coming back is, of course, all these wonderful people,” Sarah said. “As long as we are getting better each game, eventually we’ll improve to where we are winning.
“Maybe by the time I’m a senior, we’ll be a lot better — maybe even competing at substate,” she said.
While the group has high aspirations, they realize they have a long way to go, Schafer said.
“They have the will to want to be good, to be better,” he said. “But it takes time. They’re well aware it’s not going to happened this year.”
Due to the foundation and legacy being laid this year, he predicts there will be twice as many girls on the team by the time current freshmen are seniors.