Senior Night: Girls’ Basketball

Brooke Sawyer, Editor

The night starts with the junior varsity game which unfortunately North Port loses by . Followed by the presenting of the seniors. Each senior walks across the gym floor, accompanied by parents and other family members. The announcer names them and speaks the player’s personalized speech.  

Due to coronavirus, the coaches made the decision to hold senior night at the beginning of the season, instead of the end like in previous years. His reasoning: He didn’t want the girls to miss out on the most important event of the season. 

After, the seniors, all starting, huddle up just above the three-point line. The crowd is quiet, everyone anticipating the game the seniors so desperately want to win. Before the game, in the pre-game meet, team captain and senior, Brooke Sawyer tells the team “I need this. I need to win tonight...” Here, in this huddle is just a reminder.  

After an extremely rough start to the season, the girls’ basketball team walooking for a win last night against Lakewood Ranch. Since last season, they have lost two players, one a major asset. Emani Jefferson, now a D-1 player at Wright State University departed and so did 6’3 Megan Ortiz. The team has had a severely difficult time adjusting, starting off their season with 5 straight losses.  

In the first five games, the girls consistently struggle in the first quarter, digging themselves in a 10+ point deficit they spend the rest of the game trying to climb out of, and they have yet to do it, until tonight. Although they spend the first quarter trailing, and then are down 5 at halftime, the Lady Bobcats refuse to give up. At halftime, in the back hallway, Curtis Tillman, North Port’s Varsity Girls’ Basketball coach states, “Seniors this is your night. Are you gonna let them take it from you?” and that’s all it takes for the team to clean up their act.  

In the first possession back, North Port causes a stop and gets the ball back. After North Port inbounds the ball Sade Romain is able to get an outlet pass down the court to Sawyer, who makes a layup. And that was only the beginning of North Port’s fight back.  

In the last 60 seconds of the game, North Port is down by 3. Emily Leavitt, takes a defensive charge which amps up the team energy and only pushes North Port to play harder. Erica Schmitt, another senior, makes a layup which gets North Port up by 1. Romain, a prominent player on the team swishes her two free throws after a foul and brings the lead to 3. On the final possession with 6.2 seconds left on the clock Lakewood Ranch, who was ranked #6 in the state and was undefeated brings the ball down. Lakewood Ranch tries to make a play for a three-point shot which Romain blocks, and Sawyer catches and throws up court to Romain for a lay-up which is no good, due to the clock running out.  

North Port immediately erupts in cheers, the team jumping all over each other and yelling. North Port has not only got their first dub, (41-38) but on one of the most important nights of the season.  

The girls’ basketball team is now 1-6 and hopes to start a win streak with their game against Port Charlotte on Friday (12/11).