Eighth grade Lady Badgers win tournament
From left: Players for the Bonners Ferry eighth-grade Badgers are Jordan Fairchild, Illy Aitken, Elizabeth Hiland, Martie Petersen, Avery Bayer, Emma Tompkins, Markynn Pluid, Asha Abubakari and Braylyn Bayer.
The eighth-grade middle school girls basketball team concluded their season last week with a bang, winning the 72nd Annual Bonners Ferry eighth grade tournament, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished since 2012. The Badger girls went 14-1 this year, their only loss to Kellogg, coming early in the season after several of the Badgers found themselves in foul trouble. With determination, the girls went back into the gym motivated to win every remaining game of the season and take first place in the tournament.
The Badgers first faced St. Maries beating them 35-17. This put them into the semi-final game against Lakeland, a team they had not yet played during the regular season. By moving the ball really well and breaking down the trap defense, the Badgers came away with a win scoring 43 points to Lakeland’s 28. In the final game, the Badger’s consistent defensive effort and tempo control created good scoring opportunities and earned them the Championship with a 32-25 win.
The team steadily improved as a group from the start of the season until the last game, their work ethic and energy outstanding. The Badger’s opted for a tough half court man-to-man defense and forced a lot of turnovers which they were able to capitalize on. Badger opponents were unable to shut down a strong inside game with great rebounding. In addition, the Badger guards did a great job beating the press, handling the ball under pressure to find the open player, and hitting shots from the perimeter. The team motto this year was Play Hard, Play Smart, Play Together and that is just what the Badger girls did to claim victory.
“It’s good to see how far they’ve come over the years. Most of these girls have played club and AAU ball for many years either here in Bonners Ferry or on teams they belonged to before moving here. They have spent countless hours in the gym and it is awesome to see the fruits of that dedication and hard work. They bring a lot of energy and skill to the court and are a fun group to coach and to watch. I will miss them a lot but am so excited to cheer them on at the next level. The future of girls Badger basketball in Bonners Ferry is bright,” said Coach Sara Petersen. “As a coach, it is my greatest desire to push these girls, and to keep them motivated to reach higher and higher levels. I believe in them deeply. I know that they will continue to work hard and set goals for themselves as individuals and as a team. They show a lot of heart for the game, for each other, and for their school when they play. Coaching them and having the opportunity to be in the gym with them regularly has been a rewarding experience for me, one that I won’t forget.”
As the eighth-graders move on to compete at the next level, the middle school coaches are already setting their sights on a repeat championship next season as they return an experienced and talented group of seventh-graders to the court.