Lions, meet Hoyas
Middle school basketball loses championship, gains lasting experiences
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The middle school girls basketball team laced up their shoes for the Potomac Valley Athletic Conference championship against the Washington Waldorf Knights at 4 pm on Feb. 13. The team, coached by Upper School Learning Specialist Brett Kugler, may have lost this game 17-32, however, throughout the season they have learned to have fun while playing the sport they love.
The new experiences the team has gained are so valuable, even a lost championship cannot replace them.
The team was recently given the chance to scrimmage at the halftime show at a women’s basketball game at Georgetown University. On Feb. 5, the team headed to a gym filled with about 250 people.
“The girls were excited the entire time,” Kugler said. “Getting to be on a court that’s bigger than what they’re used to with more people than they’re used to is a really cool experience.”
The team got this new experience because there is a former CESJDS student who works in the marketing department at Georgetown University who called the school to ask if there was a JDS team interested in playing during halftime. Kugler jumped at this opportunity for his team.
Eighth grader Sophia Miller was very excited for the opportunity to play at Georgetown. She has been on the team for three years and had always wanted to have an experience like this one. Miller not only got a new perspective on what college level basketball was like, but she also got to compete in a game.
At the end of each quarter, JDS players were able to compete to win prizes. Miller participated in a competition where she had to crawl to half court, dribble through the cones and then shoot a layup. After this task, she won a prize pack that included Georgetown gear.
In addition to these experiences, the team also beat McLean’s middle school girls team Jan. 12. McLean had an almost three-season winning streak until the JDS girls team beat them 44-25.
“Being on the team, and playing them for so long, having not won, made it really great to finally win.” Eighth grader Anna Berger said.
Berger felt that all of the team members had an extra motivation to win the game and play well since they had lost to McLean in the championship game last season.
“What I learned from this is to always try my hardest until the end,” Berger said.
As well as the new experiences that they have gained, Kugler has taught the girls that overall, the most important part of playing basketball is to have fun.
“I always tell the girls to have fun first, and then work on the skill and then worry about winning,” Kugler said.
According to Kugler, they were able to implement this outlook during their scrimmage as well so that they were not too nervous.
“The girls all had smiles on their faces as they were running down the court,” Kugler said.