CEDAR RAPIDS — There is only one senior on the Cedar Rapids Xavier girls’ basketball team.
She also is a team captain.
“Being the only senior on the basketball team is kind of weird,” said Emily Jasper, a varsity player for four years. “But, I am so close with all of the underclassmen that I don’t even notice that no one from my grade is there, most of the time.”
The varsity roster consists of five freshman, five juniors and Jasper. Five players are returners from last year’s varsity roster.
Jasper has taken on the leadership role.
“I have had to help the freshmen get adjusted to the program and learn our plays,” Jasper said. “I am a captain this year, so that is a new role for me.”
Jasper averages 10.9 points per game and leads the team in rebounds with 7.6 per game. Her motivation to continue playing comes from enjoying the sport and spending time with all of her teammates.
“Our success comes from Emily in that she has recognized the importance of her role,” Xavier girls’ coach Tom Lilly said.
Other players have had to step into leadership roles along with Jasper, hoping to help the Saints achieve their goal of making it to state. Last year, Center Point-Urbana ended Xavier’s road to get to the state tournament.
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“You have to have leaders, regardless of grade, and you have to have kids willing to be led,” Lilly said.
Xavier (8-1) is at City High tonight in its final game before Christmas break.