Girls basketball team kicks it into high gear
January 14, 2020
The girls basketball team is off to a hot start to their season. To begin the year 9-3 is a strong accomplishment. The team got second in the state championships last year and they begin another run. Although the team has a plethora of returning talent, their leading scorer Sara Scalia graduated last season. Nevertheless, the team has adjusted well in Scalia’s absence.
Senior captain Grace Cote not only succeeds in her play, but also when she is not on the floor she still has an impact on the game. Having this presence from a returning senior sets a precedent for how the team plays.
“I bring shooting and communication to the floor. I talk to my team to tell them where they should be. When I’m off the floor I can cheer on the team,” Cote said.
Coach Willie Taylor has coached the team for six years and has found a lot of success in those years. Taylor left St. Paul Central in 2014 to pursue college coaching opportunities, but chose the job at Stillwater. Taylor led the team to a state birth last year and the team was awarded second place on the backs of leading scorer Scalia and junior Alexis Pratt.
“Alexis Pratt was one of the top players in the state last year and she has been even better this year than last year. She’s just a dynamic player that can make plays on offense and defense, all over the court,” Taylor said.
A returning player has benefited the first year players, it gives them a spark to play even better. Fultz has stepped into a leadership role and thrived. Fultz makes sure the team always focuses on the game when on the bench and leads the team on the court as well. Having such high quality captains speaks volume to the team’s success so far this year.
“Having played since kindergarten in the Stillwater program it’s really cool to be a captain and just kind of have that like honor of getting to represent the team. It’s also really cool to be looked at as a leader and it’s really fun to help all the younger girls. Just being the leader of the team with the other seniors is really fulfilling,” Fultz said.
The preseason poll ranked the team as sixth in the state. This ranking has forced some teams to not schedule games against SAHS. Cote believes it has put a target on the team’s back. Nevertheless the team has had a strong outing in the first 10 games this season and Taylor has high expectations for the team to make it back to state.
“My expectation is to keep improving. I think right now we’re are ranked fifth and our schedules really tough so we might lose a game or two, but our goal is to make it back to state. I expect us to be in the state tournament again,” Taylor said.