Play Like a Girl

Girls basketball rises through ranks


Abbey Elalouf

Caroline Walley ’23 scores on a layup. Girls basketball earned the No. 4 seed in State playoffs.

Standing in front of the net, ready to score her 1000th point, Natalie Guanella ‘23 took a deep breath before shooting the free throw that would change her basketball career forever.

The varsity girls’ basketball team has continued to make its mark. The team entered the state playoffs as the No. 4 seed after winning the 6A Front Range Girls Basketball league. Entering the playoffs, the team had an overall record of 22-1.

They played a quarterfinal match-up against Regis Jesuit High School on March 4 at the Denver Coliseum. After a close game they won and progressed into the semifinals, where on Friday, March 10 they won against Arapahoe High School 53-50. They progressed to the state championships where they lost against grandview.

“I think it’s really cool for us to be ranked that high,” Guanella said. “In the past years, we haven’t been able to play against non-conference competition that let us prove ourselves, but this year we had a really tough non-conference schedule.”

Non-conference games are games played against teams that are not in the same league as the team. The girl’s basketball team has played more games this year outside of the 6A Front Range league than last year, like their trip in Texas.

I think the fact that we have really good players who know what it takes to prepare to play against really good teams helps us be successful.

— Head Coach Michael Blakely

“We had an out-of-state tournament in Dallas where we won 3-0, and it was a huge confidence booster,” Guanella said. “I think that everyone’s just been working so hard because we want to keep this streak going.”

Head coach Michael Blakely has led many of the girls through their basketball journey. He said players like Guanella and others have pushed the team to the next level.

“I think that consistency and coaching helps,” Blakely said. “I think the fact that we have really good players who know what it takes to prepare to play against really good teams helps us be successful.”

Many of the girls on the team have played together since their freshman year. They have continued to grow close after many years of learning and playing together.

The team credits its success to the community and bonding built throughout the years. They work hard every day and have learned to communicate with one another.

“I love everyone that we’ve played with for so long,” Amelia Rosin ‘23 said. “We’ve just built a lot of chemistry on this team, and we all have played really well together.”

Hayley Luther ‘24 joined the team her sophomore year and remembers how she felt when welcomed onto the team.

“It wasn’t scary, but it was definitely an adjustment playing with older girls,” Luther said. “Being the only sophomore at the time, they took me in like a family.”

“I think how close we are really impacts how we play together,” she said. “It’s different from other teams. We’ll go hang out after practice. I think that’s very special and some other teams definitely do not.”

After years together, they have grown in many different aspects of the game, especially their bond with one another and their ability to work together.

“For most of the game, I try to bring energy to everybody and there’s a lot of talking,” Guanella said. “Whether it’s on offense or defense, we’re calling out who you’re defending or calling for the ball. You have to listen to your teammates all the time.”

Quarterfinals Photos

Center Toss

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Semifinals Photos


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