Season Ends for a Special Group of Girls

Kelly Bilodeau scored her 1,000 point earlier in the season. She had her hands full with Sachem East.
Kelly Bilodeau scored her 1,000 point earlier in the season. She had her hands full with Sachem East.
Essence Casey was up against a big, strong team.
Essence Casey was up against a big, strong team.
Katira Jemmott drives to the basket. She went on to score 6 points on the day.
Katira Jemmott drives to the basket. She went on to score 6 points on the day.
Marissa Olsen, with ball, works hard to keep the possession.
Marissa Olsen, with ball, works hard to keep the possession.
Selena Ortiz gave it her all right to the end.
Selena Ortiz gave it her all right to the end.
Chyna Jones, looks to pass to her teammates, Chyna had 4 points in the game.
Chyna Jones, looks to pass to her teammates, Chyna had 4 points in the game.

They have been playing together since the sixth grade, and while that may have begun a special bond for this year’s seniors, the reason they were so special came from some other place. “This group has a very balanced sense of maturity that enabled them to recognize that while they were having fun, acting like teenagers, they knew when to get serious,” said Girl’s Varsity Basketball Head Coach Dan Trebour. The team’s record this year was 16-3, good enough to earn them a trip to the final four, for the first time in perhaps a decade.  

“They’re special because they were able to see the big picture--how it was all about the team. They respected the process, knowing that it takes years of hard, dedicated work to get to where they are,” said Coach Trebour. “They played hard for each other. There was not an ounce of selfishness among them.”

Becoming league champions wasn’t an easy process. The teamwork that Coach Trebour referred to had to come from each and every player, whether she played for many minutes or just a few. “This year’s group of seniors were not always equal in terms of skills,” said Coach Trebour. “But all of them were equally important to our success.”

This year’s varsity team took their best season in many years into the playoffs, dispatching William Floyd and Bellport before they ran into Sachem East on a rain- swept afternoon in St. Joseph’s College Gymnasium. The game started out as expected when you’re used to watching the Wildcats. They start fast and take control early, so it wasn’t surprising to see them up 9-6 in the end of the first quarter. Both teams played evenly for the second period, scoring 10 points each to set up a 29-26 halftime lead for Whitman. But the third period started as if the Wildcats were playing a completely different Sachem East team. Their defense was stifling and aggressive, and as time ran out in the third quarter, the Wildcats were scoreless. There were opportunities as the team fought back against the much bigger adversary, but the ball just didn’t fall their way. The fourth quarter did not bring much relief as Sachem continued their defensive dominance, allowing Whitman to score twice. The season ended with Sachem East up 38 to 23. Sachem has gone on to win the Suffolk Class AA championships with their win over #1- ranked North Babylon.

“Sachem East are big, strong kids, and when they got accustomed to what we were doing well, they adjusted quickly,” said Coach Trebour. “We aren’t a particularly big team, and the Sachem game made that readily apparent. But I hope all of the girls understand that the way the season ended does not dictate who they are as people and players. When things weren’t going their way, they continued to work hard as a team. They never gave up, and that says a lot about just how special they truly are.”