Ravens Girl’s Basketball Make Huge Growth Over Season

Ravens Girl’s Basketball Make Huge Growth Over Season

Seniors Norah Yoder, Esther Hughes, Vlada Conea, & Leah Bontrager

Article submitted by Head Coach, Mitchell Drey

Finishing the year back at Winfield – Mt. Union was something amazing, not because of the score, but because of the growth that we got to see on the court. We saw Winfield the second game of the season this year, as an extremely young team. This lack of basketball playing time showed in our first meeting and was a very tough loss. However, all season the challenge was to take one step at a time and get a little better each day. This team took that challenge each and every day and got better. We slowly became a good team that knew how to play hard and play together. By the end of season, and our third match-up with Winfield, we had become a completely different team than the one that stepped foot in that second game. 

This transformation was only able to happen because of the seniors that we were fortunate to have playing for us. Each and every senior could have a book written about them and the growth that they made this year. 

Starting off with Vlada Conea – she was asked to play as our starting power forward and did this job with a smile. This was not an easy task. Each night Vlada was asked to help on or be the primary defender of an extremely talented post player on the other team. Through hard work, Vlada became a solid post defender and one of our leading rebounders by the end of the season. 

Our next senior is Leah Bontrager – as one of two girls who had played high school basketball before, Leah was given a lot of responsibility early in the season. Leah was the anchor of our defense and had to deal with the best player on the other team night in and night out. This wasn’t the easiest of jobs because Leah was an undersized post, but did not play like it. Leah brought toughness and grit into every game and practice and showed our younger posts what they need to do moving forward. 

Esther Hughes was the only senior to have played all four years, three with Hillcrest and one with Mid-Prairie. Esther was given 15 hats to wear for us this season to start the year. These included primary scorer, primary ball-handler, and primary creator to just name a few. Esther could have tried to do all these by herself and most likely could have, but she did something that you can’t coach; she trusted her teammates and worked with them everyday. Esther set the tone everyday in both games and practices, and the team followed her lead. 

Norah Yoder was our final senior this year and made massive improvements on the court. Norah had only helped with basketball in past years but she was thrown into the starting line up and played big for us this year. Norah pushed herself everyday to get better for the team; this trait is also something that you can’t coach into someone. Norah wanted to get better to help her teammates – not so she could improve her stats or personal glory, but so she could help everyone around her. 

These seniors are going to be missed on the court extremely next year, but off the court they are going to be missed even more. It was an amazing experience to have the opportunity to coach this group of seniors. They are going to do great things in their lives and I look forward to seeing what they do.