Girls basketball team welcomes back fans

Clara Graham

South’s 2021-2022 girls’ basketball team is ready to play for an audience. This season, South welcomes you back into the stands to cheer on the Panthers. Kate Barada, a sophomore on the varsity team, is excited for some normalcy to return this season:
“Our team is closer this year, and having people in the stands really makes a difference,” said Barada.
Varsity sophomore Jayda Gooch said that especially during COVID, basketball brought and continues to bring her many lasting relationships.
“We all get so close to each other, they’re like my second family.” Gooch sees her teammates as some of her closest friends and looks forward to the new connections she will make with her teammates this season. “This season I’m really looking forward to building relationships, relationships that I couldn’t build as well last year because of COVID,” said Gooch.
Last basketball season the number of fans were limited, and teams often had to withdraw from games due to a high percentage of their players having COVID or being a “close contact”. This season, fans are returning to the stands and most players are vaccinated, allowing for MCCSC’s new guidelines regarding quarantine for asymptomatic, vaccinated students. While still not ideal conditions, this year’s season has safely brought fans to the stands, bringing back fan energy to the game.
As is the case with every team, improvement is always one of the main goals. Barada shares how the team looks to improve. “To get better as a team we watch film, run lots of plays, and break down the game so that we’re working on specific moves like defense drills or shooting free throws,” said Barada.
Gooch agreed and said that “analyzing film is one of the main ways [the] team improves in practice.”
Barada and Gooch also agreed that as fans begin to fill the stands, the increase in enthusiasm and excitement for games has impacted the team in a positive way.
As Barada put it, “There’s more hype for our games because of the fans. The team vibe is overall better when we play for an audience.”
The Panthers are 1-9 and play Bloomington High School North at 7:30 pm Thursday, Dec. 16th. The game will be held at BHSN.