Prep Basketball

Xavier girls' basketball seniors eye big finish

HS journalism: Saints have won 5 in a row heading into regional semifinal

Xavier senior basketball players (from left) Abby Feltman, Maria Steffen, Kiley McAleer, Caitlin Kramer, Amelia Ivester and Paige Diebold gather for a picture after being recognized on “Senior Night” on Feb. 2. (Camryn McPherson/Xavier senior)
Xavier senior basketball players (from left) Abby Feltman, Maria Steffen, Kiley McAleer, Caitlin Kramer, Amelia Ivester and Paige Diebold gather for a picture after being recognized on “Senior Night” on Feb. 2. (Camryn McPherson/Xavier senior)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Senior night is often a bittersweet experience.

For most of the girls on the Xavier basketball team, this is their last season of competitive basketball. After years of looking forward to playing at the varsity level, they are doing their best to soak it all in.

Like most of the girls on the team, senior Maria Steffen has played for the various Xavier feeder programs before getting to high school. The goal while playing for these teams was to develop the necessary skills in order to play for Xavier’s varsity team.

Now, as Steffen nears the end of her final season, everything is a little different.

“The biggest difference being a senior is stepping into a new leadership position on the team,” she said. “When we’re on the floor a lot of the underclassmen look to us when they’re unsure of themselves or the situation. It’s a lot different than the previous three years, but it’s a good different.”

Like every year, a trip to state always is the goal.

“The team has been playing really well the past couple games so our goal is to continue that into ... regional play,” senior Paige Diebold said.

The Saints are 13-8 and winners of five straight games. They were granted a first-round bye in their region and will host the winner of Clinton and Western Dubuque on Saturday at 7 p.m.

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