Girls basketball team exemplifying Trojan pride

Anna Catherine Kueng and Taylor Astin

“I’m most proud of the heart these girls showed. Even after tough losses, they still found some way to smile and come to practice the next day.”

That is what varsity coach Gregory Hairston said when asked to describe what he is most of proud of about the girls basketball team.

Resilient is a word that comes to mind when asked to describe these Lady Trojans. Even currently at 0-15, the team has not lost their motivation or optimism. These ladies are still putting in all of their effort into every game, regardless of what the final score is.

There are three games left of the season, including the district tournament. Coach Hairston is looking forward to these games and said, “How cool would it be to play spoiler and win a game in a tournament others think we shouldn’t be apart of?” 

Hairston explains that the team’s biggest weakness is simply a lack of basketball knowledge.

“Once my girls learn the game, we will be a force to be reckoned with,” said Hairston.

The main focus for the upcoming games against Bassett and Magna Vista will be defense and confidence. Furthermore, Hairston also believes the girls will improve if they spend more time outside of school and practice working on basketball fundamentals.

On Friday, Feb. 2, the girls fell to the Halifax Comets with a final score of 26-40. For much of the game, however, the Trojans were either tied with or ahead of the Comets. With 8 minutes left of the third quarter, the score was a close 24 to 25, leaving THS fans on the edge of their seats.

Although the game was eventually lost, it was still an exciting night for seniors Lauren Goins, Makayla Gravely, and Shakayla James because they were recognized for Senior Night. They were proudly escorted by family members across the court to shake hands with their coach and principal.

All three of these girls have different strengths that they brought to the team. This was James’ first year of playing basketball and Hairston said she brought a “kind spirit.”

Gravely was described as one who “played as a forward that could not only rebound, but could also handle the ball.”

Goins, the captain, was “the voice” for the team, the main center, and their presence down low.

“If you came in the paint thinking you were just gonna put the ball up, you were wrong. Lauren made sure you were going to pay for it. She will be hard to replace,” said Hairston.

Next year, Hairston plans to fill roles with incoming freshmen, sophomores, and juniors, although he is not sure of who yet. Hairston is sure of one thing, though: “their [the seniors’] personalities can never be replaced.”

On Feb. 6, the girls will be taking on Bassett and then Magna Vista on Feb. 7.

Hairston says the season has been “very encouraging” and that they are “just getting started.”

Although successful performance in games is important, Hairston’s goals as a coach extend further than just having a winning team. 

He wants “every one of them to reach their dreams” and be taught about life through the sport the girls love. 

Hairston has done just that, evident by Goins saying, “I am going to really miss it. I hope I do not cry” before walking out on the court on Friday.