MOUNT VERNON — For most teams moving toward the end of a sports season, seniors reminisce about the last four years playing with their fellow classmates.
But for the Mount Vernon girls’ basketball team, it was much more than that.
The season came to an end Wednesday night with a Class 3A regional loss at Anamosa, but this unique group of girls played basketball with each other competitively for the last 10 years.
All eight seniors began this sport together.
“It’s the last time all of us seniors will get to play together, and the last time many of us will play basketball competitively, so for me it’s about soaking in every moment I have left to play with these girls,” Noelle Ossenkop said before the loss at Anamosa.
Having played together for so long, these seniors have an advantage most teams don’t have.
“You develop a unique kind of team chemistry,” Kristen Elliott said. “It’s not like the team chemistry you get playing with someone for a couple years, but it’s the chemistry where you almost know what the other person is going to do.
This chemistry has grown over the years, and has given these seniors a unique experience compared to other teams whose players may not be as close.
The seniors began playing basketball together when they were in third grade. They played games and tournaments and spent an abundant amount of time together on a travel team until eighth grade. All eight continued to play with one another throughout high school.
“The advantage to playing with the same girls is seeing growth,” Katheryn Opperman said. “It’s fun to think of where we started and where we are now.”
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Over the years, their success can be attributed to their close friendships that grew stronger every day.
“We all get along so well, and are friends on and off the court,” Catherine Yeoman said. “We can push each other in practice and know how to help each other out.”
Their strong relationships help them be successful on the court and made for a very emotional and unique final season.
“What is special about this group is that we’ve been best friends for so long,” Kyli Orr said. “Basketball has tied us together and has given us all memories that none of us will ever forget.”