Westminster’s varsity girls basketball team ended their season as GICAA state runners up Friday, Feb. 27 after a tough battle against reigning state champs Heritage Academy. The Lady Lions played with all their heart and in the end fell 51-23 to a very talented team.
Sallie Schutz and senior Katie Leach were both sick with the flu, but fought to lead the Lions with 13 points and 8 points respectively.
“We were very familiar with Hertiage and what they are capable of on the basketball court,” said varsity girls coach Keenan Klayman. “They put up 84 points against Peachtree Academy in the semifinals, so we knew that to have a chance we’d have to limit their scoring opportunities. Our game plan was to keep control of the ball and burn clock as long as they remained in their Pack Line defense, then look for scoring opportunities once they came out of their pack. The strategy worked to some extent as the score halfway through the first quarter was only 2-0 Heritage. However, we found it difficult to execute our attack plan once Heritage came out of the Pack Line and brought high guard pressure – leading to several turnovers that pushed the score to 11-3 at the end of the 1st quarter.”
“At that point we had to dial back the ‘keep away’ game and be more aggressive on the offensive side,” continued Klayman. “The quicker pace worked in their favor as they built a 15 point halftime lead. Our girls hung tough in the second half, perhaps the 4th quarter being our most impressive, but a Heritage scoring run in the 3rd quarter effectively put us away.”
“I am so proud of the determination and mental toughness these Westminster girls demonstrated this season. On paper you wouldn’t have thought this team would make a championship run – 6/9 players being Freshmen or younger,” boasted Klayman. “However, sometimes I guess inexperience can work in your favor because they don’t know who is ‘suppossed’ to win. Our girls genuinely believed they could beat anyone and everyone they played, and that fueled an intensity that made them a ton of fun to watch! This is the most resilient group of young athletes I’ve ever been around. I expect they will only improve from here, meaning there is a very bright future for Westminster basketball!”