KCA’s varsity girls’ basketball team slam dunked the 2018-2019 season, claiming the Division 1 state championship in the Maryland Christian School Tournament as well as snagging first place in the MISAL League.
“They were tired by the end of the season, but for the championship, nothing was going to stop them,” said Coach Damien Rivers.
For the season as a whole, the team went 19-3. In 2017-2018, the KCA Lady Eagles placed third in the MISAL League.
Not only did the girls excel as a group this year, but individual players garnered titles as well. Sophomore Imani Eubanks scored 40 points in the league championship game and was named State Player of the Year and Most Valuable Player for the league. Team captain Lexi Smith, also a sophomore, and Kayla Gray, a junior, were named First All League and State. Sydney Sobola, a senior, was also team captain. Another senior, Jaimee Metcalf, was awarded a basketball scholarship to Bluefield State College in West Virginia.
Only six high school students were on the team, so three members of the middle school varsity team were pulled in for the championship game and some games in the regular season.
“We only had six or seven bodies, but they were very good,” Mr. Rivers said. “Everybody contributed. They were tired, but they were the best players on the floor.”
On the boys’ side of high school basketball, the success of the season was measured in maturity and Christian character.
“It was not a winning season as far as wins and losses, but it was definitely a winning season for the young men and how they carried themselves,” said Coach John Somerville. “They overcame a lot of obstacles and challenges. They grew up and became young men.”
In particular, team captain Chris Christian, a senior, “stuck out as a good leader,” Mr. Somerville said. “He led the team all year and kept them all together. Tremendous leadership and character were shown through all of this.”
The highlight of the season as far as games were concerned was a home-court victory when Christian made a last-second shot at the end of the game to win it, Mr. Somerville said.
For the first time in KCA history, so many middle school students wanted to play basketball that both the boys’ and girls’ teams divided into varsity and junior varsity teams. Seventeen girls and 15 boys were on the middle school teams – a record setting number! The boys had “one of their best years in the league,” posting a 10-3 season in the Catholic School League, said Coach Jonathan Shotwell. “It was a great group of boys this year. They were more focused not only on the court, but they had their heads on straight in the classroom,” Mr. Shotwell said.
Nine boys served on the middle school team. Dreylen Howard, an 8th grader new to the school this year, “really helped a lot” as point guard. Also standing out on the team were 8th graders Justin Campbell, Wyatt Dooley and Carmello Barnett and 7th grader John Sobola.
Six 6th graders played on the team, bringing home a winning 6-1 season. For Mr. Shotwell, a highlight of the season was the game against Little Flower Middle School, which is coached by his younger brother, Nick Shotwell. Both brothers are KCA graduates.
“I got him this year,” Mr. Shotwell said.
On the girls’ side, the team placed third in the MISAL League and fourth in the playoffs and third in the Southern Maryland Youth Basketball League. They went 8-8 for the season.
“They improved a lot over last year in their confidence, and we were seeing more points,” said Coach Kelsey Reichard.
The team captains were 8th grader Abby Boyd and 7th graders Alex Pompizzi and Rylie Guy. The three girls also played some games on the high school girls’ varsity team.
A highlight of the varsity middle school season was the game against Father Andrew White Middle School, which the KCA Eagles won 32-12.
“They really came into their own, in terms of steals and there were lots of fast breaks. Some of the junior varsity girls got to play. They really stepped up,” Ms. Reichard said.