By: Faith Kisker
One dream. One team. One shot. Thunk thunkthunkthunkthunk. Silence. The fans wait with bated breath. Swish. The ball goes in. The buzzer sounds and the Girls Varsity Basketball Team has done it again, winning a nail-biter with a foul shot in overtime, succeeding again like they have all season, despite losing many seniors and getting a new coach again.
Coach Whitney Jones is in her first year as a coach for the Girls Basketball Team after many years as a celebrated basketball player – she started on a final four team at Oklahoma and was drafted into the Women’s National Basketball Team (WNBA). She is enthusiastic about the season so far (10-6 record) and the future and says, “This season has gone really well and it has been really fun. I’m looking forward to finishing section and winning section.”
In a few short weeks, she has developed a close relationship with her players. She says, “These girls are like my little sisters. They are the reason I wake up in the morning. It’s amazing to see them develop as women, and help them [in this process].
As for the players on the team, Delaney Daly, senior guard and Layni Ziegler, sophomore guard, agree that this year, they are definitely “the underdogs.” Still, this year has been special to the players, they say as, “the team has [become] a family, because of the coaching. We’ve had a few coaches over the years, and it hasn’t really been like a family- or a team- , but this year it’s different. We are like a second family [to each other].”
The big game against rival Bishop Canevin is coming up this Friday here at home at 6pm – the second game in a double-header . The girls are doing “everything” to prepare, physically and mentally for this big game.
Coach Jones, 25, has a unique story of becoming the Girls coach. The former Oklahoma star spent a year as assistant coach here at Seton La Salle when Coach Spencer Stefko led the team to the PIAA Championship. Last year, she was announcing college basketball. She knew she wanted to get involved in coaching again, but she needed to make sure her husband, Landry Jones, secured a spot on the Steelers roster as back up quarterback. As soon as that decision was final, she called Athletic Director Damon Rosol to interview for the head coaching position left vacant after Stefko took the coaching job at North Allegheny. While she’s the fourth Girls Basketball coach in five seasons, she was familiar with the program and the storied Seton-La Salle legacy, and hopes to continue it. “It was interesting to learn my role as coach, instead of my role as a player,” says Mrs. Jones.
Varsity Girls Basketball has succeeded thus far, with a record of 10-6, and we are rooting for this to continue (everybody better be at the Bishop Canevin Game this Friday! :)).