By Linus Chun
Emotions flew along with the ball as it was passed around the Thompson Street gym. Blurs of red and blue dashed around the court with fire and determination as , on February 3rd, the Elisabeth Irwin High School girls basketball team played Grace Church in their final game of the season and came out with a decisive victory. But this game was about more than just winning or losing, according to one senior.
“It was about playing together as a last time together,” senior Isabella Bulone says. “Shoot and play how you want. Have fun with it. It’s about putting our all in.“ For the seniors, this game was a symbolic end to their playing careers. The game marked the end of an era for some of the power players on the team. “I’m so proud of them,” their coach Luis Hernandez says. “They have come so far since freshman year.” With an astounding 20-0 season, they established a legacy of LREI victories. Going undefeated this season, the game was even more significant because it ushers in a new era of play for younger members of the team. “Once we leave it is really up to those not Seniors to really step up,” Bulone says.
The end to the team’s journey is an emotional one because the whole team is so closely knit together. “The team has been something of a support system,” said Bulone. “We share a special connection, and we’re like a big family.”
The players have gone through an amazing journey since freshman year. What this game means to the players was more important than the outcome. “The game is an acknowledging the fact that the dynasty of players is ending,” Bulone said. “It is acknowledging what we have done for the team.” The game also signifies their moving forward in their basketball careers, as this game was their symbolic send off into the world. “I’m definitely going to play in college,” Bulone says.
As for the younger members of the team, Bulone had a message for the ones on the team who are left. “Just try your hardest and really care,” she says. “Respect the game and coaches and the legacy they can hold even after we’re gone.”