8th Grade Basketball Girls Rise above Calamity

The Lady Raiders faced a chaotic season with a crazy basketball schedule and only two home games. They triumphed over the turmoil to have a winning season.

Kyra Selig cited team bonding as a main reason the Lady Raiders pulled off a winning season.

“All of us were just really good together,” Kyra said. “We all had different mindsets, and together we made a really good team.”

Doing shooting and passing drills helped the ladies push themselves during practice.

“We also encouraged each other by saying things like ‘good defense,’” Caroline McKinney said.

Jessica Vallejo attributed the winning season to all the long, hard practices.

“We put more work in than all the other teams,” Jessica said.

Even though the Lady Raiders got beat in their first game, they continued going hard in practice. Compliments from the coaches inspired the ladies to want to do better and make them proud.

Kyra expressed gratitude to the coaches.

“They are the only reason my confidence grew,” Kyra said. “I feel like I wouldn’t believe in myself the way I do now without them.”

Jessica Vallejo appreciated that the coaches never gave up on the Lady Raiders.

“After we lost or had a good game, Coach Candelaria gave us a speech,” Jessica said.

Sha´Nyah Perry welcomed the methods the coaches used.

“They motivated us by being hard on us, telling us what to fix, and giving us good compliments,” Sha´Nyah said.

Coach Candelaria and Coach Caldwell encouraged Aryss Chambers to stay positive.

“They motivated me by never letting me get down on myself and pushing me to work harder,” Aryss Chambers said.

The coaches motivated the basketball team by telling them how good they actually were.

“We just don’t notice and comparing us to other good teams and how we beat them, which made us want to work harder to beat the score,” Gabby Uriarte said.

In addition to coach motivation, the Lady Raiders reflected on their favorite moments of the season.

Kyra liked summer practices.

“They were just fun, and that’s when I started improving,” Kyra said.

Aryss reveled in conquering their rival, Darby, and celebrating afterwards.

“Darby had beaten us the first time,” Aryss said.

Gabby also liked beating Darby.

“We sprayed Coach Candelaria with water after the win,” Gabby said.

Nevaeh Smith’s favorite moment was when they kept winning back to back games.

“We were goated like that,” Nevaeh said.

Coach Candelaria was extremely proud of who the Lady Raiders were off the floor.

“Our team’s average GPA the first semester was 3.5, and multiple players have won student of the month the past two seasons,” Coach Candelaria said. “They are leaders for our school. I’m also very proud of overcoming adversity the past two years with having COVID seasons. Coaches and players missed practices and games; yet, they continued to work and not make excuses. They got better and better and improved their win total by winning eight more games than a season ago.”