A New Winning Culture at GCS

Media provided by Alejandro Izurieta ‘25

The varsity girl’s basketball team has remained a consistent dominating force in the ACIS and NYCAL leagues since their killer season in 2022, dominating again in 2023. As they broke school records and dropped banners left and right, they continued playing with immaculate flare. 

The Girls Basketball success proves how infectious their winning spirit is and how an impeccable season in 2022 can lead to a growing, consistent winning culture.. 

For the second year in a row, the Grace Girls Varsity Basketball team has been crowned regular and playoff season champs in the ACIS league and qualified for the NYSAIS state tournament. The girls went undefeated in the ACIS league with an 11-0 streak and won 19 games overall (losing only five games), pulling off a win percentage of 79.2%. 

A solid winning spirit is undoubtedly erupting throughout the Girl’s Varsity Basketball program. The success the girls accomplished did not come easy. 

Captain Lina M.S. ‘24 commented on what it took to reach such heights: “It was a really tough season, but our team chemistry and talent all around really helped us push through.”

Captains Lina and Alana A. ‘24 led the team through the season, averaging expert points per game –Lina, infamous for her smooth three-pointers and crafty dribbling, and Alana skillfully dribbling down the court and laying off points like it’s light work. 

Along with captains Lina and Alana, the team was fearlessly guided by Gay Hemphill, the head coach, who, as a new face in the program, almost instantaneously set the winning tone among the girls. 

Coach Gay remarked on the drive for hard work and commitment, and explained that “the success for the girls’ basketball team consisted of hard work, commitment, and captains who set good examples on and off the court.” 

Coach Gay’s comment exemplifies the crucial role the captains play on a team, whether on or off the court. She conveys that captains must show leadership outside of playing in order to adequately guide and inspire those around them. 

Coach Gay mentioned how passion contributes to the overall tone of the girl’s play: “What mattered most is that each player enjoyed the game and worked to be the best basketball player they can be.”

The importance of high spirit and morale in team sports is amplified in the results of the Girls Basketball season. The combination of enjoyment and effort contributed to the dominating spirit of the team. 

Athletic director Tim Quinn, who oversees the team and has observed the team’s growth since the beginning of the 2022 season, praises the evident “winning culture” in the Girl’s Basketball program. 

Mr. Quinn stated, “When you have a group coming back that has had success the previous year, that helps with the commitment and understanding of what it takes to be good again.”

The blueprint season of 2022 set the tone for this season. In 2022, the girls went undefeated in the league and had an overall record of 19-5, proving the consistency of results in the program. With many players returning from last season such as Philomena A. ‘25, Caitlyn P. ‘25, Davionna V. ‘25, Violet P. ‘25, Pippa L. ‘25, and Charlie S. ‘24, the consistent roster already provided team chemistry. The girls took last season’s success and grew further as a team and program. 

One of the most notable moments of the season was Alana A. ‘24 and Lina M.S. ‘24, both reaching the tremendous 1000 points milestone achieved by very few athletes in high school basketball. 

Lina commented on the experience: “reaching 1000 points was incredible; having my teammates by my side at the moment made the experience so great – especially the energy they all shared.”

The girls suffered a tough end to the season in the NYSAIS quarter-finals to the number one seed who ended up winning the state tournament. Nonetheless, the girls had a fantastic run. 

The winning culture of the Girls Varsity Basketball team is only growing from this moment forward. 

Coach Gay shared her vision for next season: “for us to be a better team, go undefeated, and win the NYSAIS Championship.”

At this rate, the growth year-to-year in the Girls Varsity Basketball program promises excellent success for the team. Although the 2023 season has come to an end, excitement is building for the upcoming 2024 season.

We are witnessing the emergence of a new powerhouse in the sport – the winning culture the girls are bringing is perhaps long overdue.