One for the History Books: Varsity Girls Basketball Season Wrap-Up

Sophia Isler, Staff Writer

This season, our 2022 Girl Varsity Basketball team played to the best of their abilities, ending the season with a strong record of 20-9. Although they didn’t start the season off strong, facing a loss against Murray County with a score of 48-58, they quickly recovered by beating Coahulla Creek (54-52) and Dade County (48-34), among others. After a little over a month of play, the Generals began a remarkable ten-game winning streak, besting teams like Gordon Lee (50-21), Northwest Whitfield (40-39), and county rivals Ringgold (47-29). A short time later, the Generals faced off against Southeast Whitfield, conquering them 46-27 and moving onto another game against Northwest Whitfield. Even though they did well in their last round, they ended up losing this match against Northwest, 33-49. Although they lost, this didn’t hold our Generals back, and they moved on to Central Carrollton. This game could hardly even be considered close: Central fell to our amazing Generals, 54-33. Our Varsity team maintained their winning streak and didn’t let it go for a second. They went against Ridgeland, and the results of their practice definitely showed. Our Generals won, to no surprise, 59-15. Next up on the list of opponents was, once again, Northwest Whitfield. They were definitely hard competition. Even though it was an intensely close match, our Generals lost to them once again with only a seven-point difference, 32-39. Although they lost, they didn’t let this get to them. And just like any other loss they endured this season, they pushed through it with even more practice. The Generals’ next game was against Central again, which is where they put all of their practice to work and won 51-36. The girls finished third in the region, qualifying them for the GHSA State Basketball Tournament.

They had worked so hard up to this point, so of course they worked as hard as they could to prepare for this tournament, the apex of the season. The Generals’ first game of the tournament ended up being against Fayette County. Our ladies played their hearts out and won 44-39. Following this game was a neck-and-neck battle against Monroe. Our Generals still managed to win, 49-47. The season came to a close with a final match against what Coach Elkins called “a very good Marist team” in the Elite 8. As Coach Elkins noted, this was only “the second time in school history” that our Girls team made it to the Elite 8. Our team played to the best of their abilities but sadly lost 16-36. Despite this ending, this was, overall, a magnificent season for our Lady Generals, and they worked hard to get so far into the final tournament. Their determination and resolve no doubt helped in getting them this far, not to mention the efforts of Coach Elkins. 

Looking back over the season, Elkins said, “I am really proud of all of the players this season. It’s always nice to see the hard work pay off.” Even though, he remarked, the team “finished just short of winning the region,” the girls nonetheless “regathered [themselves] with maturity and mental toughness to make a historic run in the state tournament.” “You can’t do that with weak minded players and players that don’t want to compete,” he said. “We always ask them to compete at the highest level they are capable of and they absolutely did. They gave everything they had and for that I am forever grateful.” Indeed, it was difficult for both Elkins and the players to single out a single athlete as a stand-out player this season. As Coach Elkins put it, “each member of the team played a key role . . . [and] I don’t think any success we had would have happened without every member playing their role.” For instance, the senior players—which included Riley KoKinda, Gracie Murray, Brooke Matherly, and Kortney McKenzie—“really embodied everything we wanted our program to be this season and for the years to come,” said Elkins. “I think they led by example and really made this season so special for us all, [but] we obviously  had other players who played a huge role as well.” Looking forward to the future of the team, Elkins said that he thinks “this team really generated a lot of excitement and hopefully . . . will pave the way for this standard to continue at HHS for many years to come.” “I am so proud to be a part of this team, and I look forward to next season and building on the excitement this team generated this season,” noted Elkins. The Heritage community is certainly looking forward to the same.