In the gym, fitness center, and around the track, the Girls Basketball team is hard at work, training for their upcoming winter season.
The Blair girls’ varsity basketball team competes nationally against the country’s top high schools. The team has won ten straight MAPL championships and 8 out of the last 10 NJISAA prep “A” championships. In 2019 and 2020, Blair placed second in the Insider Exposure Independent School National Championship in North Carolina.
One day before practice, we spoke to a few members on the basketball courts, all of whom emphasized the importance of the family-like environment of the team. Ally Lovisolo ‘22, who is from New Jersey and a Loyola Maryland commit, described the team as “a family on and off the court” and a standout factor when compared to other programs.” Jaylin Hartman ‘23, a Michael Jackson and Keanu Reeves enthusiast from New Jersey, agreed as well. “[It’s] the people for sure…Each year I just get a different family experience, so it’s definitely them,” she added. It was evident that both returning and new basketball players enjoyed the team’s close relationship. Kennedy Henry ‘25, a 9-year basketball player from Delaware, was already experiencing the amazing atmosphere of the basketball program. “I like the team aspect because everyone’s a family, with such a great bond between each individual,” she said.
Besides, the interviewees also expressed their satisfaction towards their new coach, Ms. Camara, and their training in the past few weeks. “Coach Camara has been implementing a college type of workout which has been amazing,” said Jaylin Hartman ‘23. “The team morale has been really supportive.” Zeynep Ozel ‘24, a player from Turkey, agreed, adding that “the team works together to get better and bring the victories to Blair”.
The team has high aspirations for the season, aiming to win in the upcoming big games. “We have the same expectation we have every year, which is to win as much as possible,” said Sophia Davis ‘23, a 4-year varsity player from New Jersey. “We are a great group of girls, we have been playing together for a while, so our chemistry will be there this year,” she said. Zeynep Ozel ‘24 also expressed her excitement to start their official season, and compared it to last year. “We were so sad that we only played one game last year and that’s why we are excited to play tournaments, hopefully winning the MAPLs championship and national championship,” she said.
Although highly competitive, most of the athletes’ fondest memories were those of having fun with each other. “Spending time with the girls, like outside of the court, whether that’s a team meal or just seeing each other on the pathway… Those moments outside of basketball are my favorite parts,” said Sophia Davis ‘22. Ally Lovisolo ‘22, expressed her gratitude to the basketball opportunities Blair has offered her throughout her basketball journey. “I have been playing basketball since 3rd grade and apart of this team since my freshman year. Blair made all of my basketball dreams come true and now I’m lucky enough to be playing in college next year,” she said, recently committing to Loyola Maryland.
(Copyright Chloe Lau and Jackie Neary 2021)