MILA SEIFERT/SAGAMORE STAFF
Pierced by the bitter cold, parents, teachers and family members rushed into the Schluntz gym, welcomed by a buzzing pre-game atmosphere.
The Brookline girls varsity basketball team faced Natick at home on Jan. 11, for an intense game ending in a win for the Warriors with 67 points leading Natick’s 34, bringing their record to an impressive 6-1.
The warmups were filled with excitement as both teams got ready to play and the cheerleading squad prepared to perform. Captain and junior Talia Thompson started the game strong with the Warrior’s first basket, quickly followed by Brookline’s first three-pointer scored by junior Faith Rothstein.
After a tight first quarter ending in a 15-15 tie, the Warriors entered the second quarter driven to take the lead. After the first few minutes of the second quarter, the Warriors took a commanding lead that they were able to maintain for the remainder of the game.
Junior Margo Mattes, who is verbally committed to play basketball at Princeton University, said that the way the team handled turnovers played a key role in maintaining their lead against Natick.
“When we started working together on the press they started getting flustered, and we were able to get turnovers. Being able to get easy baskets out of the turnovers is what made the difference, versus us getting the turnover and then just setting up,” Mattes said.
After each quarter, the cheerleaders took to the court to re-energize the crowd.
Junior and captain Geanna Bryant had a standout game, scoring a total of 23 points for the team. Bryant shined in the second quarter. Her speed, agility and persistence were all on display as she continually dribbled up the court past Natick players.
At halftime, the Warriors were winning 33-19. The cheerleaders performed a remarkable routine filled with music and excitement. The routine brought energy back to the crowd, with dances and impressive lifts and stunts.
The Warriors worked cohesively as a team and supported each other throughout the game. Bryant said that the team’s communication helped them win.
“I think just communicating and talking with each other helped. Once one person picks their energy up, we all pick it up, so it’s really fun to play with them,” Bryant said.
Head coach Kendall Jones said that the strength of their defense is what led to Brookline’s success.
“The most important thing is defense,” Jones said. “Defense wins championships, offense sells tickets, so if your shots are not going, you can always rely on your defense, and they came through tonight.”