Girls Basketball Juniors Step Up as Leaders

Young team strives to win with no senior players


Jim Ferro

Team co-captain Hannah Strother (11) takes the ball to the hoop in a home game against Annandale. The four junior captains stepped up to the lead the young team this year.

This year the Falls Church Girls Basketball Team took on the new challenge of competing with no seniors on the team.

The head coach of the team is Katelyn Charbonneau. She’s been the head coach of the varsity program for four years and works in the building as a special education instructional coach. This year, she had the difficult task of coaching a varsity team without any seniors.

“At times, I definitely had to teach what leadership looks like on and off the court. There are a lot of girls on the team who are natural-born leaders, they just needed to be taught how to channel that into a team,” said Charbonneau. “A lot of the girls have been on the team since their freshman year and by the second half of the season, they stepped up as leaders.”

Several juniors have stepped up as captains including Hannah Strother (11), Simone Pendleton (11), Sadie Laughlin (11), and Emily Keefe (11). They’ve helped guide the team through the season providing extra leadership for new players. The coaching staff has also played an important role in the team’s success, as they have been instrumental in developing the players into top-notch athletes. The team is highly competitive, and the players have always been willing to go the extra mile to get better.

“This team has a great work ethic. In practice, I never had to tell them to go harder. Many would come early to practice and get extra shots up,” said Charbonneau.

They have represented the school with pride and have been a very exciting team to watch this season. Unfortunately, the varsity team fell just 6 points short against South County High School in the playoffs, finishing the season 11 – 13. After a year of building, the team can look forward to a season with many returning seniors.

“I would love to see more vocal leadership next season and that is something they have been working on. I think by the end of the season, many leaders emerged and each took on a different role of what leadership can look like. We had bench leaders, vocal leaders, and leaders who led by how they played,” said Charbonneau.