The student news site of Kingwood Park High School

KP TIMES

The student news site of Kingwood Park High School

KP TIMES

The student news site of Kingwood Park High School

KP TIMES

Big home win boosts confidence of girls basketball team

Sophomore Madison Staggs and senior Madi Barker do a shoulder bump for their handshake during player introductions against Magnolia High School.

With the girls basketball season underway, the team played their first home game against Magnolia High School on Nov. 14. The varsity squad won 44-43 after junior Aniah Cross hit the game-winning shot with time expiring.

The team, with only two returning starters (juniors Asia Martin and Aniah Cross), has won three of the last four games.  

From the outside perspective this season might look similar to past years, but multiple changes throughout the program have made the team closer knit. 

“We bond a lot, but it’s also been difficult because we did lose good players,” senior Madilyn Barker said. “The atmosphere has been much more positive.”

  Freshman Rionna Martin and junior Aniah Cross have gotten off to strong starts on the court, leading their team in points and assists. 

 The program also gained two new assistant coaches – Danielle Patillo and Conner Grant. Patillo is the junior varsity coach and Grant is the freshman coach. Even though the coaches have made practices more lively, the athletes continue to face challenges.

Girls basketball coaches Danielle Patillo, and Andrew Cross watch from the bench while junior Aniah Cross shoots a free throw against Magnolia. Patillo and Grant are new to the coaching staff this season. (Tricia Darcy)

“You just have to have an open line of communication,” head coach Andrew Cross said. “Continue to give them space to grow, and to show them things, and you learn from them as well.”

The team has had to learn to fill the void left by 2023 graduate Biva Byrd, who led the team in points, assists and rebound last season. However, the girls have shown improvement since the beginning of the season and Cross expects more growth as the young team becomes more comfortable playing together. Cross said it’s his philosophies and the team’s hard work that make this year’s team so special. 

“I think our weakness is confidence and I think that can be true for a lot of people, just being confident in what you’re capable of doing,” Cross said. 

Off the court the girls have continued to build closer bonds with each other, resulting in a positive environment. Along with the players, the coaches have continued to make practices fun for all the teams.

“They try to keep the practices fun and uplifting, we bring in music, which I think helps us not get down in times that we do lose,” Barker said.

The athletes try to make practices more exciting, especially when conditioning so the spirits remain high. While the fight to the end might look effortless during a game, the program works hard during practices each day. 

“The girls don’t complain when we run,” Cross said. “We’ve done a lot more conditioning this year and everybody has received it in a positive way. So just continuing to be positive always helps.”

That energy brought by the team can be found not only during practice, but has transferred over on the court during games.

Cross encourages students to come to home games because of the fast-paced play and the positive energy. Cross said the team will always turn on the light switch whenever the pressure is high, especially in the second half.

“They’re a team that’s going to play extremely hard,” Cross said. “They’re going to fight to the very end. They’re never going to give up.”

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  • C

    ChristineNov 16, 2023 at 10:05 pm

    AWESOME

    Reply
  • J

    John DarcyNov 16, 2023 at 5:28 pm

    Great game

    Reply