Another first! The OES girls basketball team are the 2020 Lewis and Clark League Champions. Yes, the senior class that won ONE league game their freshman year gathered Monday night after defeating Riverdale 48-34, and posed as the first team in school history to win a girls basketball league title! Great senior leadership, outstanding coaching, dynamic play from everyone and a commitment to play together, compete to the best of their abilities and support one another has led to this historic accomplishment. I know not many people read this blog(I am pretty sure my mom has stopped reading also) but Missy and I will be singing this team's praises in the OES hallways. No season exists in a vacuum. That was obvious on Tuesday when the varsity girls showed up to support last year's captain Rachel Lowell. Rachel is taking a Gap Year before heading to Bates College next fall. Currently, she is our 7/8th grade girls basketball coach. The middle school team was trailing in the second half when the varsity girls showed up. The older girls cheered loudly, and the 7/8 team rallied for a critical 19-16 win. The magic of being in a K-12 school was obvious!
The boys basketball team finished the season with the #2 seed. Last season they were dead last in the league. I have tried to figure out why they made such a jump. I have several hypotheses, but one stands out the most to me, the 12th man. Great teams need competitive depth. They need everyone to be invested and to model how much they care. Last season the end of the bench had a different energy. During games you could see guys joking around at the end of the bench. In practice the silliness would continue drawing focus and energy away from competition. Not this year. Ethan B'20 rejoined the basketball team his senior year. Before the first practice Coach Kirk had the honest conversation that if he was looking for playing time it may be wise to think about playing JV. No thank you coach! Ethan has not played prolific minutes this season. He has led the team in high fives, chest pounding, and jumping off the bench to celebrate big plays. When a teammate comes off the floor, he is part cheerleader, part coach, part counselor depending on what the young man needs. More importantly, Ethan has changed the dynamic in practice. Every rep he is giving 100%. He is competing to win each play, pushing buttons and letting the starters know that they can't stop him. You want to beat him, you better be practicing at game speed.
I am not shocked that Ethan would have such a positive effect on the team. In the fall he was the guy who made sure the crowd was fired up during soccer and volleyball matches. During the soccer state championships he organized the student tailgate. You may have seen him waving the OES flag once or a thousand times. All senior year he has found ways to selflessly contribute to his classmates' experience. He is not alone in doing this. But what is unique is that in the spring Ethan is going to be the guy in the spotlight. He will be an anchor for the OES boys lacrosse team and will have to play every single second of the game. Even if he wants a break, I doubt he will get one. All eyes will be on him because of his talent and his impact during the game.
There are numerous student-athletes like Ethan in the class of 2020. They are multi-sport athletes who love to be a part of the team. Rachel H, Ryan B, Ava C, Isabelle T, Kennedy B, John F, Milo K, Hugh S, Asa B, Sophie C just to name a few. They may be the star one season, and come off the bench in another, but they elevate the team because of their commitment, effort, and willingness to show they care. These young people are becoming unicorns. As I check in with our lower school parents and students I hear both fourth graders and forty year olds talk about specialization. You have to be the best or it isn't worth being on the team. You need to good instead of finding something bigger than yourself to be a part of. Nine year olds playing the same sport with the same team year round. Ethan has the confidence and the compassion to be the star of the team and the guy waving the towel from the bench. Is specializing in 4th grade developing those same characteristics? I don't know, but I am sure no is having a better senior year than Ethan.
Ski Team Report
OES boys head east this weekend for the 4th race of the season. They are currently 2nd in the Metro League with three races remaining. Seniors Hugh S(1st in rankings) Alex U(8th) Ian B(13th) and Asa (18th) are leading the team and freshman Olin G(21st) and Seth T(25th) are providing great depth.
OES girls are currently 3rd in the Metro. Grace A is 3rd overall in ranking with Catherine Z at 7th and Isabelle T in 25th. Both teams are focused on winning Metro and seem certain to qualify for States!
Senior Night! Tonight is the final basketball regular season game against Catlin Gabel! Girls tip-off at 6:00PM and the boys follow at 7:30PM. Since it is Valentine's Day be sure to wear your red for a Red Out as we celebrate our seniors on Senior Night!
District Playoffs! The OES boys will host Westside Christian for the first round of the District Playoffs on Monday at 6:00PM. Tickets are $6 for adults and $3 for students and Sr Citizens. OES will cover the cost of all OES students and employees.