With the end of the school year fast approaching, most students are looking forward to summertime fun. For four Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community girls who attend Stapley Junior High and play for the girls’ basketball team, they first had to experience a bittersweet moment after their final game of the season, on Monday, May 5.
Until their final game, against Rhodes Junior High School, Stapley was undefeated and had come out on top against their rivals Carson Junior High and Kino Junior High. But their final game was a loss.
“These girls have more maturity than most eighth-graders, and it’s great to see them elevate the attitude in a positive way,” said head coach Lori Stockman of Briah Johnson, Deja Acosta, Megan Andrews and Ezeriah Ramirez. “They provide positive vibes in the school and on the basketball team; in a way it’s saying, ‘I’m representing both SRPMIC and the school.’”
“The highlight of the season was when we beat Carson and Kino,” said Andrews. “And when we beat them, it was by a lot too,” added Johnson. “The lowest point had to be today for sure,” said Acosta after the defeat to Rhodes. Acosta and Johnson served as two of the three guards in the game.
“They are all pretty even when it comes to talent. I think the most challenging part of the season was taking that talent and building that chemistry with the other girls,” explained Stockman. “Briah and Deja have been playing for a long time and understand what they’re going to do on the court. When you add other girls in the mix, they are hesitant. It’s normal, just figuring out the dynamics of each other. Towards the end of practice one day, we saw them all come together. I told them before, ‘As soon as we do that, we’re money, we’re good to go.’ So it’s okay that we lost tonight. You want to lose now so in the finals tournament we will be ready,” added Stockman.
The team will play this Friday in a single-elimination tournament to crown the champion of their district. Out of the 10 teams total, Stapley has not faced five of them yet due to shrinkage in their schedule.
All four girls look forward to their next chapter and playing basketball at the next level. They said it has been a bittersweet moment as they end their last season on a loss, but they are looking forward to new beginnings.
The girls would like to thank their families for attending their games and supporting them as they competed.