By Gabby Ripka
Some may say that the Byram Hills Girls Varsity Basketball team has had their best season yet, and there is no denying that this season will go down as one of the best seasons in BHGVB history. Byram’s record stood at 8-8 last year, with their eight losses coming from league opponents. The girls grew exponentially from last season as shown by this year’s record, which surged to a whopping 17-4. Not only did they improve in their league, but they won their league championship, making a common phrase around their team, “from worst, to first!” A big part of the team’s growth can be accredited to coaches Tara Ryan and Meredith Vasta, as well as their senior captains, Maggie Walsh, Olivia Gordon, and Grace Scavone.
Byram was the underdog in many of their games at the beginning of the season, but they surely proved themselves as a force to be reckoned with. Their first league game was against the Harrison Huskies, the defending league champs. With a packed crowd in the stands, the relatively young team beat the talented Huskies pretty handily. That’s when people started to take notice around the section.
The biggest test Byram believed they would face came from the Rye Garnets, who were the defending champions in Section 1. Their first win against the Garnets is one that many believed really put them on the map. After beating the Garnets, many girls on the team felt a new found sense of confidence that they would carry with them throughout the season. Sophomore Guard Sofia Villani said, “Beating Rye for the first time was definitely a highlight. After that win I felt like we could beat any team, and this confidence is what I attribute much of our success to following that game.”
Rye turned out to be less of a problem than an extremely tough Pelham team. This Pelham team ended being the biggest threat to Byram’s league championship. In order to win a league championship, you need to beat every team in your league at least once. Byram beat every team twice,including very talented Harrison, Rye, and Eastchester, however, they only beat Pelham once. This win against Pelham came on Senior Night, which made it an even more special occasion for Byram’s Seniors. When asked to comment on her senior night/and season, Senior Captain Grace Scavone said, “Four years playing with this team was too short. I am going to miss this team so much especially after this amazing season.”
The games following Byram’s senior night, were when things got really exciting. After a bye in the first round, Byram beat a strong Lakeland in the second round of playoffs by a score of 52-40. This game allowed Byram to advance to the section quarterfinals. Although Byram lost to Somers, who eventually made it to the finals, the girls had a great experience playing in what was undoubtedly the biggest crowd they had ever played in front of. BHGVB brought the Byram Hills community together in a thrilling last game of the season.
Maggie Walsh will surely think fondly of her Senior season. Not only did she take home a league championship, but she also scored her 1000th point, which only a handful of Byram Alum have done. She won Bobcat of The Month, the Con-Edison Award, and the News-12 Award. Walsh will be greatly missed by her whole team as she was the perfect example of a captain and leader for our school.
Although Byram is losing many great players like Walsh, Scavone, and Gordon, Byram still has a very young team. Because of this, the future looks bright for the bobcats. When asked to comment about her team, sophomore star Jen Mui commented, “From not winning a single league game in two years to winning the championship, this season has been incredible. We are still a pretty young team so hopefully we can continue the success in the future.”
Byram will look to improve upon their already illustrious record. Hopefully next year, not only will Byram be back, but they will hope to be taking home the coveted Section 1 Gold Ball!