Team chemistry drives girls basketball team’s success

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Mary Brady

Waiting for the game to begin, members of the varsity girls basketball team chat with one another. Coach Bryan Duncan believes the team's chemistry is driving them in the right direction. "They just seem to find the right mix of having fun and really competing hard, and I think that leads to success," Duncan said.

On the bus to an away game, members of the varsity girls basketball team listen to music and joke around with teammates of all grade levels, a scene which is a stark contrast to the attitude of last year’s players.
Starting off the season 7-0 for the first time in school history, Coach Bryan Duncan and his players attribute much of their success to strong team chemistry.
“… There’s been just a little different air to this group,” Duncan said. “They just seem to find the right mix of having fun and really competing hard, and I think that leads to success.”
Senior Morgan Gantz and sophomore Madison Piper believe that cliques broke up the varsity team last year and damaged the camaraderie.
“This year, it doesn’t matter if you’re a freshman or senior,” Gantz said. “Whatever age you are, everyone can always talk to each other.”
Freshman Cameryn Thomas didn’t know how the season would play out because of the diversity of player styles.
“We have such a different team, such different players and player types, so I wasn’t sure how the season was going to go,” Thomas said. “But I felt like, before the season started, we all knew each other really well, and we were … a great, cohesive group.”
After their impressive early season performances, the team struggled against an aggressive Leavenworth in a 30-60 loss, making the Firebirds 7-1. Duncan, however, believes the girls needed to lose in order to get better.
“We talked a lot last night about, ‘Okay, we got that loss out of the way; we got beat,’” Duncan said. “‘Tomorrow in practice, we’ve got to regain that same style we’ve had all year, and we’ll be fine.’ And that’s the key, you know, can you do [well] in good times and in bad?”
Instead of getting disheartened by the loss, the team got serious about preparing for the rest of the season.
“At practice yesterday, we definitely pushed ourselves more than usual because we wanted to learn how important all of those little mistakes were,” Gantz said. “… It kind of reminds us, ‘Hey, we still have to try, we’re not just gonna beat anybody just because we’re talented.’”
Thomas said the girls wanted to “come back and try [to] win as a team,” and they did just that. Three days after the Leavenworth game, the Firebirds edged out Olathe Northwest, 63-59, making them 8-1.
The display validated Duncan’s belief that the girls would rebound and use their tight teamwork to their advantage.
“We’re a team; we’re working as a team,” Piper said.
At the time the paper went to print, the lady Firebirds were 8-1.