The Student News Site of Athens Academy

The Spartan Review

The Student News Site of Athens Academy

The Spartan Review

The Student News Site of Athens Academy

The Spartan Review

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Brian Olson
Women’s Basketball Team in Tampa

For many years, as most Spartans relax over the holidays between Christmas and New Year’s Day, the Athens Academy Women’s Basketball team has dutifully ventured to various regional tournaments throughout the southeast. This long standing tradition both exposes players to high-caliber competition and offers an exceptional bonding opportunity for teammates and coaches before league play commences.

 

This year, the team traveled to Tampa. Boarding the bus on December 26 with Coaches Olson and Banks (later joined by Coach Sensing who flew in), the day-long trip began five days of incredible basketball and unforgettable memories. Alongside three action-packed games on the court, the team enjoyed activities like mini-golf, a trip to a college basketball program and late night meals! As a testament to her team commitment, freshman Sally Swann joined the team even while recovering from an ACL injury.

 

After arriving, the team played in a total of three games where they saw some tough competition and grew as a team. The first game, despite being a tough loss, was hard fought. The girls never gave up and showed perseverance. On the team’s second full day, they took a day off from basketball and watched Florida Gulf Coast University practice. This practice was very informative to players and allowed them to grow watching collegiate players compete with one another. Sally Bullard, the only current senior, shares her experience from visiting FGCU.

 

 “Going to the FGCU practice was really interesting, especially being a senior this year. It personally gave me more insight to what college basketball life could be. I also feel like as a team and coaching staff we learned a lot about how college athletics are run and have applied a few of their concepts,” said Bullard.

 

To close off their “off day”, the team headed to Popstroke to play mini golf. This was a fun experience for all the players. It allowed people to grow closer with one another off the court and really contributed to the team’s overall bond. 

 

The developmental and bonding opportunities afforded by the Tampa tournament served the team well when they returned for league play. The team notched a big win over East Jackson and secured a hard fought victory over Providence Christian.

 

 Sophomore Josie Collins shares her perspective on the team’s third game and how she thinks “the key to our success in the last game was just loosening up and focusing on what we could control like our toughness, communication, and effort which made a huge difference in playing fluidly and together.” 

 

 As the team wraps up the last month of their season with rivals like Banks County and Union County looming ahead, the team aims to advance deep into the region tournament as well as a strong showing in state. The roots of these successes trace to Tampa and the grand tradition of the women’s team’s holiday adventure.

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