Despite last night's regional loss, the TCSV Girls Basketball team had a lot to celebrate this year. For the past few years, the girls basketball team outperforms the competition and has taken first place in many tournaments.
The girls basketball team had an excellent tournament season this year, getting first place in the TCSV Holiday Tournament, Macon County Tournament, and the Clinton Turkey Tussle. It's impressive to win one of those tournaments, but even more so to win 3 tournaments.
The Macon County Tournament brought high intensity theatrics to the court as the game against St. Teresa was sent into overtime by a buzzer beating 3 point shot from Ashlyn Sturdy. After coming back from a 10 point deficit, a shot by Ashlyn Sturdy at the final buzzer tied the game and brought it into a tension-filled overtime. The four minute overtime was filled with close calls and ended with another victory under the TCSV team’s belt
Words with Coach Nika
We reached out to Tony Nika, the coach for the girls basketball team, for his thoughts on the season and his expectations for next year.
Q: How did you expect the team to do this season?
A: I thought we would be very competitive, but I was unsure of how much success we would actually have. If you would have told me that we were going to win 3 of our 4 tournaments I probably would have had trouble believing it. I thought we could be a 20 win team but I did not expect to have as much success in terms of winning tournaments. Luckily for our sake, the girls have taken what we have taught them to heart and given perfect effort to succeed.
Q: What was your biggest fear in the tournament?
A: My biggest fear was the element of the unknown and fatigue. It was hard to gauge how good we could be with just two weeks of practice and summer in which not everyone could attend our practices and games at the same time. But the girls showed some grit and beat some really good teams and became champions in our first year, beating 3A Clinton by 19 on their own court in the title game. With the other 3 tournaments, playing 3 competitive tournaments in 3 and a half weeks is a real drain on the girls and even myself.
Q:What are your expectations for next year?
A: Next year we hope to be continuing to do what we do. We will be losing two great senior leaders, Grace Honeyman and Anna Sagle, but we think we can still be competitive with All-Staters like Ashlyn Sturdy and a great group of players coming back. We know we will have to have a good summer of hard work, but like this year, if the girls buy into what the coaching staff is preaching to them, we can be very successful. It will come down to one thing: are they willing to put in Perfect Effort. If they are willing to do that, we can be right back where we are now, and maybe even better.
Goodbye Grace Honeyman :(
In the final home game against Mt. Pulaski, Senior Grace Honeyman was honored for her time with the program. If you did not know Grace, Coach Nika wants you to know that
"she is the epitome of a team player. She always did whatever I asked of her for the good of the team and she did it to the best of her ability. As a freshman, she was asked to come up to the varsity and try and provide an offensive spark. As a sophomore, she was asked to be a defensive stopper and feeder to the posts. As a junior, she was asked to play some power forward and guard all 5 positions. And as a senior, she was asked to play center, even though she was the 2nd shortest starter on our team. Grace is one of those kids who provides attributes beyond the traditional stats. She's an amazingly hard worker, brings a great attitude, and is the best teammate you can have. I cannot put into words how honored I am to have coached her. She is what we look for in a TCSV player: someone who gives perfect effort and someone who accepts their role and does it to the best of their abilities. I'm forever grateful for what Grace Honeyman has done for our program."
The team’s senior night game was close, but in the end we came out victorious. The match was close, ending with a score of 56-52, increasing our win count to 22 after the tournament. The game went down to the wire. We were down by 11 as the 3rd quarter started to come to a close, but we came back by scoring 9 points in a row before the game entered the 4th quarter. In the 4th quarter we went back and forth before Ashlyn Sturdy scored a 3 pointer only a few minutes before the buzzer to seal the deal for another win.
Every year the TCSV Girls Basketball team outperforms expectations and this year they carried on that tradition by getting first in 3 out of the 4 tournaments they entered. Their current record is 24-6 and although their season is over for this year, they have a lot of celebrate.
Story by Caleb Incarnato