Unbreakable: The Ties Between JV Girls In Chelsea Basketball


A display of friendship and camaraderie is shown by freshmen Kate McKenzie and Kaydee Absher in a complex handshake before the game against Pinckney.

Girls race, shoes squeak, the crowd yells, and the buzzer rings. This is all a show of skill and effort, and everyone can see it. But what they don’t see is the most important: the effort behind the score. 

Before games, at practices, at half time, and after the final buzzer, the girls JV basketball team functions as a team regardless of the score or skill of the day. They work together to bring each other up and support the team, not only in gameplay but emotionally as well. 

“We always go into the game with really fun attitudes,” freshman India Barney said. “Then during halftime, most of the time, we’ll also go into the locker rooms and we’ll either talk about something funny or just hype each other up.”

The team constantly works to build each other up and communicate well. At half-time, the team sees it as a chance to talk about the game and to get on a clear level of communication to be more efficient. 

“I think after a few timeouts, and maybe after the first half, we do a lot better because we know how they play and then we can talk about it,” Barney said. “So it’s kind of like taking a test, but having help halfway.”

Talking with the team and working out all the difficulties is a key part of playing the game, and half-time is the best time to lay out a game plan. Being able to talk to the coach and team at half-time is an important asset to the girls’ game.

“It helps us talk with each other and say what was good for each other, what didn’t work, and what did work,” Barney said. “Then we can learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses, so we can be a stronger team.”

Though the team does an amazing job at communicating and keeping their heads on straight, there are still moments when they worry about the score.

“At half-time, I was a little nervous, because I’m pretty sure we were down by three or something,” freshman Karlie VanRemortel recalled. “But then when we got out there we really focused and got it together, and we made a whole bunch of steals and fast breaks. Kate was really good at that. She was really out there grabbing that ball and anticipating.”

Despite the girls’ great performance, the score and skill that Pinckney brought on February 7 were not what the Bulldogs were originally expecting.

“Last time we played them, they were good, but we beat them by a lot,” freshman Brynnley Lockman said. “So this time it was like: Oh, they’ve gotten better.”

Although half-time is a perfect chance to recap the first half of a game, there is more than just strategy involved. Working as a team also focuses on how an individual plays. The team mindset affects the players in a positive way that only a close group can relate to.

“It definitely helps with social skills and then it helps you physically say: ‘I can’t give up because if I give up then I let my team down,’” Barney said. “And I don’t want to let my team down, because then it won’t be any fun.”

For the JV girls, it’s not just a matter of having fun, it’s also about being connected and having good relationships with the other members of the team.

“I think that makes us respect each other more and makes us feel good about ourselves,” Lockman said. 

The team knows they can lean on each other while still holding their own. They know to function and improve as a team and individually and constantly work to keep each other up and stay positive, knowing that it affects how well they play.

“The more optimistic we are, the more energy we bring, and the better we play,” freshman Kaydee Absher said. “So that translates over to a win or a loss for us.”

The team’s positivity and closeness do not just affect how well they play, it also impacts their lives outside of basketball.

“It really helps you with communication and just getting more social,” VanRemortel said. “It helps you with teamwork skills and you kind of almost have a second family. You get really close to the girls and it’s really nice to have that support.”

Having the love and support from the team only makes the players want to give it back in appreciation. Together, they have created a tight net of companionship and understanding.

“I want to give everything I got,” Barney said. “Not just [to be] a good player individually, but [to make] my team better.”