Varsity Girls Basketball
I'm proud of our student-athletes and their commitment to excellence, both in the classroom and on the court.
- Sherri Retif, Head Coach
- Season Records
- 1,000 Point Club
- Player Reflections
- Make-A-Wish Showcase
|4||Basha Harrington||Guard||5'8||Grade 9|
|5||Bri O'Hara||Guard||5'3||Grade 11|
|10||Jessica Moore (captain)||Guard||6'0||Grade 12|
|11||Lilly Funk||Point Guard||5'6||Grade 11|
|12||Alexis Goodridge||Guard||5'8||Grade 11|
|13||Josephine Munson||Guard||5'11||Grade 10|
|20||Elise Smigiel||Forward||6'0||Grade 12|
|21||Isabella Casey||Guard||5'9||Grade 9|
|23||Samantha Wade||Point Guard||5'9||Grade 9|
|24||Kendall Bennett||Forward||6'1||Grade 10|
|25||Ava Knopping||Forward||5'8||Grade 12|
|31||Jenna Aponik||Point Guard||5'5||Grade 9|
|40||Jessica Aponik||Point Guard||5'10||Grade 9|
|44||Charlotte DiLello (captain)||Guard||5'7||Grade 12|
Sherri RetifHead Coach
Dr. Sherri Retif finished her 21st season at Germantown Academy. During her tenure, the Patriots have captured the Inter-Academic Athletic League Championship 19 times -- most recently in 2018-19 -- including a streak of 14 consecutive titles and 109 straight Inter-Ac victories. The Patriots claimed three consecutive Pennsylvania Independent Schools Athletic Association State Championships from 2009 – 2011. At the end of the 2018-19 season, Coach Retif’s career coaching record is 706-187. GA most recently won the 2019 PAISAA Championship over The Shipley School.
Memorable highlights throughout the past 20 years include:
- Last year’s 2018 team who posted an impressive 25-win season and boasted four (and still counting) Division I signees.
- The 2016 Patriots led by Erin Lindahl (Emory ’20) and Kendall Grasela (Penn ’20) who brought the Inter-Ac title back to GA campus both their junior and senior seasons.
- The 2009 Patriots completed the season with a 31-0 record and were recognized in three different national post-season polls including a ranking of No. 8 in the nation by MaxPreps.
- The 2009 Pats were led by Maggie Lucas (Penn State ’14) and Jesse Carey (Villanova ’13).
- The 2007 Team, led by Caroline Doty (UConn ’13), completed their season ranked 17th in the country (Sports Illustrated) and #1 in Southeastern PA (Philadelphia Inquirer).
- The 2001 Hall of Fame 25-2 Patriots, with Joey Rhoads (Penn) and Laura Kurz (Villanova) at the helm, finished the season No. 1 in the East and #8 in the nation (USAToday).
Before arriving at GA, Retif coached at Ursuline Academy, New Orleans where her teams captured back to back City Championships. A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, Sherri played basketball for the Tulane Green Wave. She was inducted into the Tulane University Hall of Fame in 1998 and selected to the Tulane All-Quarter Century team in 2001.
In March of 2008, Coach Retif was selected to serve as Head Coach of the East Team in the McDonald’s All-American game. In the spring of 2007, Coach Retif served as an Assistant Coach at the USA Basketball High School Sports Fest in Colorado Springs where she received a Silver Medal. In 2006, Sherri recently contributed to Youth Sport and Spirituality (Notre Dame Press) and co-authored the book, More Than A Game (St. Mary’s Press). In the fall of 2016, she completed her doctorate in Spirituality at Fordham University. Retif was inducted into the Montgomery County Coaches Hall of Fame in 2013 and the GA Hall of Fame in 2016. Sherri has two sons, Bender and Cameron and granddaughter Makayla.
(Updated: Feb 15, 2019)
Andre StrothersAssistant Coach
Coach André Strothers returns to GA for the third year. He has been coaching basketball in the Philadelphia area for over 13 years and prior to GA served as the Plymouth Whitemarsh High School Girls Basketball Head JV Coach and Varsity Assistant. His success as a coach can be attributed to his love for the game. Coach Strothers has served as the Head Girls Varsity coach at Norwood-Fontbonne Academy and the Head JV Coach and Varsity Assistant at Springside School. He is also currently an ad-hoc board member for Whitemarsh Girls Basketball League and continues as a head coach for Fencor AAU. He has experienced success on the court, qualifying for the playoffs, having AAU teams qualify and participate in National Championship Tournaments, and having players recruited and now playing as NCAA student athletes. In addition to his teaching of fundamentals basketball, it is his message to all his kids that separates him and that is the importance of education, teamwork, self-discipline, and family values as important elements for success in basketball and life.
Erin LindahlAssistant Coach
Home to the Patriots' varsity basketball teams and girls' volleyball teams, the Big Gym is located on the far corner of the GA campus and has several entrance points. It can host a full-court basketball game or a full-court volleyball match with a total square footage of 8,915. When pulled out, bleachers can seat approximately 420. The standing room only capacity for the space is 1,626. When used as event space, the Big Gym can hold tables and chairs for a sit-down meal for 524 people. Concession stand space is located right outside of the Big Gym entrance and the restrooms are located below the gym floor. There is no formal ticket booth, but there is an area outside of the main entrance to the Big Gym where a ticket table could be erected as well as a place to sell snacks and drinks.
Big Gym - 8,915 sq. ft.
- Basketball court - 94x50'
- Volleyball court - 60x30'
- Bleacher seating - 420
- Standing capacity - 1626
- All Inter-Ac League Teams
- Times Herald All-Area
- All-State Honors
- Intelligencer All-Area Teams
- Philadelphia Inquirer All-Southeastern PA
- Markward Club Honorees
- Associated Press AA All-State
- McDonald's All-American
- ESPN Rise Magazine All-American
- Parade All-Americans
- Street & Smith's/Sporting News All-Americans
- Max Preps All-American
- The Alexa Gallagher '11 Award
- Outstanding Offensive Player
- Outstanding Defensive Player
- Captains' Award
- Somebody's Hero Award
- True Spirit Award
2006 All Inter-Ac League:
First Team: Caroline Doty - Sophomore, Jesse Carey - Freshman
Second Team: Jenna Washabaugh - Senior, Colleen Magarity - Junior
Honorable Mention Lindsay Freid – Junior
2007 All Inter-Ac League:
First Team: Caroline Doty - Junior, Maggie Lucas - Freshman,
Second Team : Colleen Magarity - Senior
Honorable Mention: Jesse Carey – Sophomore
2008 All Inter-Ac League:
First Team: Maggie Lucas - Sophomore, Jesse Carey - Junior, Caroline Doty - Senior
Second Team: Tory Thierolf - Sophomore, Alexa Gallagher - Freshman
2009 All Inter-Ac League:
First Team: Magie Lucas - Junior, Jesse Carey - Senior, Tory Thierolf Junior
Second Team: Alexa Gallagher – Sophomore
2010 All Inter-Ac League
First Team: Maggie Lucas - Senior, Tory Thierolf - Senior, Alexa Gallagher – Junior
2011 All Inter-Ac League
First Team: Alexa Gallagher - Senior, Jaryn Garner - Junior, Monica Schacker - Senior
Second Team:Kiernan McCloskey - Junior, Dana Lotito -Senior
2012 All Inter-Ac League
First Team: Jaryn Garner - Senior, Kiernan McCloskey - Junior
Second Team: Fran Sweeney - Junior
Honorable Mention: Dempsey Cooper - Junior
2013 All Inter-Ac League
First Team: Kiernan McCloskey - Senior, Margaret Anne Hubbell - Junior
2014 All Inter-Ac League
First Team: Margaret Anne Hubbell - Senior, Olivia Gorman - Junior
Second Team: Kendall Grasela - Sophomore
2015 All Inter-Ac League
MVP: Olivia Gorman Senior
First Team: - Kendall Grasela junior
Second Team: Lauren Oeth - Junior
2016 All Inter-Ac League
Inter-Ac MVP: Erin Lindahl – Senior
First Team: Kendall Grasesla - Senior
Second Team: Lauren Oeth - Senior, Lilly Bolen - Junior
2017 All Inter-Ac League
First Team: Lilly Bolen - Senior, Alexa Naessens - Junior, Rachel Balzer - Sophomore
2018 All Inter-Ac League
Inter-Ac MVP: Catherine Polisano – Senior
First Team: Catherine Polisano - Senior, Jaye Haynes - Sophomore, Elle Stauffer - Sophomore
Second Team: Alexa Naessens - Senior, Rachel Balzer - Junior
2019 All Inter-Ac League
Inter-Ac MVP: Elle Stauffer - Junior
First Team: Elle Stauffer - Junior, Jaye Haynes - Junior, Rachel Balzer - Senior
Second Team: Maddie Vizza - Junior
2007: Player of the Year - Caroline Doty '08
2007: Jesse Carey '09
2007: Colleen Magarity '07
2008: First Team - Jesse Carey '09
2008: First Team - Maggie Lucas '10
2009: First Team - Jesse Carey '09
2009: First Team - Maggie Lucas '10
2009: Second Team - Tori Thierolf '10
2010: Player of the Year - Maggie Lucas '10
2010: First Team - Tory Thierolf '10
2010: Second Team - Alexa Gallagher '11
2011: First Team - Alexa Gallagher '11
2011: Honorable Mention - Dana Lotito '11, Kiernan McCloskey '13, Monica Schacker '11, Jaryn Garner '12
2012: First Team - Jaryn Garner '12
2012: Honorable Mention - Kiernan McCloskey '13
2013: Player of the Year - Kiernan McCloskey '13
2013: Honorable Mention - Margaret Anne Hubbell '14,
2014: First Team - Margaret Anne Hubbell '14
2014: Honorable Mention - Olivia Gorman '15, Kendall Grasela '16
2015: Second Team - Olivia Gorman '152015: Honorable Mention Lauren Oeth
2018: Second Team - Elle Stauffer '20, Jaye Haynes '20
2018: Honorable Mention - Rachel Balzer '19, Alexa Naessens '18, Cat Polisano '18
2019: First Team - Elle Stauffer '20
Second Team - Rachel Balzer '19, Jaye Haynes '20, Maddie Vizza '20
2006 Second Team: Caroline Doty '08
2007 Player of the Year: Caroline Doty '08
2009 Second Team: Maggie Lucas '10
2009 Third Team: Jesse Carey '10
2010 Player of the Year: Maggie Lucas '10
2010 Third Team: Tory Thierolf '10
2011 First Team: Alexa Gallagher '11
2011 Second Team: Jaryn Garner '12
2012 First Team: Jaryn Garner '12
2013 Second Team: Kiernan McCloskey '13
2014 Third Team: Margaret Anne Hubbell '14
2015 Third Team: Olivia Gorman '15
2018 Elle Stauffer '20 - 4th Team & Jayne Haynes '20 - 5th Team
2008: Caroline Doty '08 (Co-Player of the Year in Southeastern PA), Bri Cowden '08
2009: Jesse Carey '09, Jess Erb '09, Laura Karbach '09
2010: Maggie Lucas ‘10 (co-Player of the Year in Southeastern PA), Tory Thierolf '10
2011: Alexa Gallagher ‘11(InterAc Player of the Year), Dana Lotito ‘11, Monica Schacker ‘11
2012: Jaryn Garner ‘12
2013: Kiernan McCloskey '13, Dempsey Cooper '13, Fran Sweeney '13
2014: Margaret Anne Hubbell '14, Inter-Ac Player of the Year
2015: Olivia Gorman '15, Inter-Ac Player of the Year
2017: Lilly Bolen '17, Abby Starzecky '17, Jessica Sheridan '17
2017: Lilly Bolen ’17, Inter-Ac Player of the Year
2018: Catherine Polisano '18, Alexa Naessens '18
2019: Rachel Balzer '19
2006: First Team - Caroline Doty
2007: First Team - Maggie Lucas '10; MVP - Caroline Doty '08
2008: First Team - Maggie Lucas '10; Third Team - Jesse Carey '09
2009: First Team - Maggie Lucas '10; Second Team - Jesse Carey '09; Third Team - Tory Thierolf '10
2010: First Team - Maggie Lucas '10; First Team - Tory Thierolf '10
2011: Second Team - Alexa Gallagher '11
2012: Second Team - Jaryn Garner '12
2013: Second Team - Kiernan McCloskey ‘13
2014: Third Team - Margaret Anne Hubbell '14
2016: Third Team – Erin Lindahl '16
2018: Third Team - Jayne Haynes '20
2001: Gillian Goring (exchange student)
2002: Gillian Goring (exchange student)
2003: Laura Kurz '04
2004: Laura Kurz '04
2007: Caroline Doty '08
2008: Caroline Doty '08, Jesse Carey '09, Maggie Lucas '10
2009: Jesse Carey '09, Maggie Lucas '10, Alexa Gallagher '11
2010: Maggie Lucas '10, Alexa Gallagher '11
2011 Alexa Gallagher '11
Permanently endowed in 2013, The Alexa Gallagher Award annually recognizes the leader who best emulates the athletic excellence, passionate spirit and team-oriented vision of former basketball captain Alexa Gallagher '11.
2013: Kiernan McCloskey '13
2014: Margaret Anne Hubbell '14
2015: Erin Lindahl '16
2016: Abby Starzecky '17
2017: Lilly Bolen '17
2018: Catherine Polisano '18
2019: Rachel Balzer '19
1999: Kristi Sarnosinki '99
2000: Gillian Goring- exchange student
2001: Gillian Goring- exchange student
2002: Laura Kurz '04
2003: Laura Kurz '04
2004: Laura Kurz '04
2005: Nicole Finelli '05
2006: Caroline Doty '08
2007: Caroline Doty '08
2008: Maggie Lucas '10
2009: Maggie Lucas '10
2010: Maggie Lucas '10
2011: The Starting Five - five players averaged double digits
2012: Kiernan McCloskey '13
2013: Kiernan McCloskey '13
2014: Olivia Gorman '15
2015: Olivia Gorman '15
2016: Erin LIndahl '16
2017: Rachel Balzer '19
2018: Elle Stauffer '20
2019: Elle Stauffer '20 & Jaye Haynes '20
1999: Chelsea Kaden '00
2000: Chelsea Kaden '00
2001: Stephanie Spada '03
2002: Joey Rhoads '03
2003: Joey Rhoads '03
2004: Kris Guynn '05
2005: Kris Guynn '05
2006: Jenna Washabaugh '06 & Colleen Magarity '07
2007: Colleen Magarity '07
2008: Jesse Carey '09
2009: Jesse Carey '09 & Tory Thierolf '10
2010: Tory Thierolf '10 & Alexa Gallagher '11
2011: Alexa Gallagher '11
2012: Jaryn Garner '12
2013: Fran Sweeney '13
2014: Lauren Oeth '16
2015: Lauren Oeth '16, Kendall Grasela '16
2016: Lauren Oeth '16, Kendall Grasela '16
2017: Lilly Bolen ’17, Alexa Naessens ‘18
2018: Jaye Haynes '20
2019: Jaye Haynes '20
The Captains' Award is presented to the teammate, in the opinion of the captains, who displays consistent hard work and dedication to the overall success of the team.
2003: Katie Morgan '05
2004: Lindsay Freid '07
2005: Colleen Magarity '07
2006: Jesse Carey '09
2007: Jess Erb '09
2008: Alexa Gallagher '11
2009: Jaryn Garner '12
2010: Angela Upright '13
2011: Natalie Toner '13
2012: Emma Silvers '14
2013: Maeve Connor '16
2014: Erin Lindahl '16
2015: Abby Starzecky '17
2016: Lilly Bolen '17
2017: Taylor Putnam ‘19
2018: Maddie Burns '20
2019: Becca Booth '21
2000: Katie Curtin '00
2001: Erin Osborn '01
2002: Kelly Winning '02 & Stephanie Spada '03
2003: Joey Rhoads '03
2004: Becca Buckler '04 & Lauren Freid '04
2005: Katie Morgan '05
2006: Lindsay Freid '07
2007: Colleen Magarity '07
2008: Caroline Doty '08 & Jess Erb '09
2009: Alexa Gallagher '11
2010: Natalie Toner '13
2011: Monica Schacker '11
2012: Natalie Toner '13
2013: Dempsey Cooper '13
2014: Kendall Grasela '16
2017: Jessica Sheridan '17
2018: Alexa Naessens '18
2019: Maddie Vizza '20
2000: Leason Weatherill '00
2001: Joey Rhoads '03
2002: Jess Hoff '02
2003: Nicole Finelli '05
2004: Nicole Finelli '05
2005: Jessica Limbacher '05
2006: Torie Machikas '08
2007: Lindsay Freid '07
2008: Dana Lotio '11
2009: Jess Erb '09 & Laura Karbach '09
2010: Maggie Ebbott '10
2011: Dana Lotito '11
2012: Sarah Armstrong '12
2013: Melanie Repella '13
2018-2019: 30-1, 12-0
2017-2018: 25-5, 12-0
2016-2017: 21-10, 11-1
2015-2016: 24-3, 12-0
2014-2015: 21-6, 11-1
2013-2014: 20-7, 9-3
2012-2013: 18-11, 8-4
2011-2012: 18-11, 11-1
2010-2011: 23-5, 12-0
2009-2010: 23-4, 12-0
2008-2009: 31-0, 12-0
2007-2008: 22-8, 12-0
2006-2007: 26-3, 12-0
2005-2006: 24-4, 6-0
2004-2005: 22-4, 9-0
2003-2004: 22-6, 7-0
2002-2003: 20-8, 7-0
2001-2002: 20-4, 7-0
2000-2001: 25-2, 7-0
1999-2000: 24-3, 7-0
1998-1999: 17-7, 6-1
'84, '85, '86, '87, '88, '89, '90, '91, '95, '96, '97, '99, ’00, ’01, ’02, ’03, ’04, ’05, ‘06, ‘07, '08, '09, '10, '11, '12, '15, '16, '17, '18, '19
INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS STATE CHAMPIONS
'09, '10, '11, 19
INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS STATE RUNNER-UP
'12, '14, '15, '17
Laura Kurz '04 --- 2,247
Maggie Lucas '10 -- 2,197
Joanna Rhoads '03 -- 1,713
Diana Caramanico '97 --- 1,486
Jaye Haynes '20 -- 1,400
Kiernan McCloskey '13 --1,345
Cathy Hebling '94 --- 1,187
Caroline Doty '08 --- 1,166
Jesse Carey '09 --- 1,159
Tory Thierolf '10 -- 1,150
Olivia Gorman '15 -- 1,108
Rachel Balzer '19 -- 1,092
Chelsea Kaden '00 --- 1,073
Monica Williams '97 --- 1,061
Margaret Anne Hubbell '14 -- 1,058
Maddie Vizza '20 -- 1,016
- Maddie Vizza, Captain
- Rachel Balzer '19, Captain
- Alexa Naessens '18, Captain
- Abby Starzecky ’17, Captain
- Jessica Sheridan ' 17, Captain
- Erin Lindahl '16, Captain
- Lauren Oeth '16, Captain
- Kendall Grasela '16, Captain
- Maeve Connor '16
- Leena Kardacz '16
- Olivia Gorman '15, Captain
- Margaret Anne Hubbell '14, Captain
- Kiernan McCloskey '13, Captain
- Dempsey Cooper ’13, Captain
- Angela Upright ’13, Captain
- Fran Sweeney ’13, Captain
- Melanie Repella ’13
- Jaryn Garner '12, Captain
- Sarah Armstrong '12, Captain
- Dana Lotito ’11, Captain
- Monica Schacker '11, Captain
- Alexa Gallagher '11, Captain
- Maggie Ebbott '10, Captain
- Tory Thierolf '10, Captain
- Maggie Lucas '10, Captain
- Jesse Carey ’09, Captain
- Jess Erb ’09, Captain
- Laura Karbach '08 Captain
- Meredith Carber ’09, Captain
- Caroline Doty ’08, Captain
- Bri Cowden ’08,Captain
- Colleen Magarity ’07, Captain
- Lindsay Freid ’07, Captain
- Stephanie Spada ’02, Captain
Since I can remember, basketball has been one of the most important aspects of my life. Growing up, I wore soccer, baseball, and lacrosse cleats, track shoes, even Irish dance shoes. However, I always seemed to gravitate back to my basketball high tops and I knew that I enjoyed playing this sport the most by far. It made sense. I grew up always in a basketball gym; watching my uncle coach at Drexel, hearing the roar of the crowd at The Palestra as I watched my cousins play for the Catholic League Championship, spending countless hours in my grade school gym working on my game until they turned the lights off, and soaking in every word I heard at clinics. My parents would drive me from practice to practice, sacrificing so much time so that I could play and improve upon the sport that I love. My family and I bled basketball.
I carry this passion that my family instilled in me to this day and I believe it is passion that shapes great basketball players. In order to improve in any area of the game, whether it be ball handling, shooting, and, most importantly, toughness, you truly have to love the game. It takes a certain drive to work as hard as you can, at every season, every practice, and every drill that stems from your dedication to the game. This is one that that all of the GA basketball teams have in common; everyone cared deeply about getting better. We pushed each other day in and day out, which I believe was the biggest contribution to every achievement that we earned over our four years with this program. I know my teammates will continue to carry this hard-working attitude that they all have throughout their college careers. And I know that I will continue push myself whenever I lace up my high tops, because I simply just love the game.
My basketball career has been filled with accomplishments at GA. Yet, my senior season was one I will never forget. We won our own Winter Classic Tournament, the Make-A-Wish Tournament, the Upper Dublin tournament, and the Sugar Bowl Tournament in New Orleans. We went undefeated in the Inter-Ac, won the PAISSA Championship, we finished our season 30-1, and we were ranked 18th in the country by MaxPreps and Blue Star Media. However, any one individual did not achieve these accomplishments. A whole TEAM achieved these. A team that put there blood, sweat and tears into every drill, sprint, play, and game. A team that had trust in each other, celebrated each other, pushed each other, and picked each other up. In the beginning of the season we knew we would be good, we knew we had all the tools needed to be a good team. But, the thing that separated us from being just a good team was our common vision and goals. We all believed we had something to prove. We all showed up to practice everyday wanting to get better, wanting to prepare for our next opponent, wanting to win a championship. We never settled with being “just a good team”. This mentality and drive made us a great team. We believed in each other and that was the biggest factor in our success this year, which led to a great, fun year.
With all of this being said, none of this would have been possible if it weren’t for the girls before us. They set expectations and a standard that set us up for success. The captains in the past have led this team on and off the court and as I leave I hope I was able to do the same. To the captains in the future: continue to lead this program and work as a team for the greater good of this program. I will forever be grateful for the friendships, experiences, and memories I have made. THANK YOU!
Being a part of this team for the past four years has been extremely rewarding. These girls have become my second family and I’m going to miss them so much. As an underclassmen, I have always looked up to my captains and all the work they put into leading our team. As I look back on these past four seasons, I know how important my captains were to me and my development and I hope I have left the same legacy on this team, just as they did. I was lucky enough to be a part of a group of girls who have so much passion and dedication, it was almost impossible to go in to a game without that “will to win” attitude. Every practice and every game I never once felt like my team wasn’t pushing me to work harder.
As my senior season comes to a close, I would like to leave you all with some advice that went through my head every season, every game. After I saw a quote online that talked about the chemistry of a team, it stuck with me. The best teams have chemistry. They communicate with each other and they sacrifice personal glory for the common goal. Team chemistry has and always will be the most important thing to me as a player. Even if you and your teammates are fighting, when it comes down to game time you better talk it out so you can get out on the court and play as a team. It’s great to score twenty points a game but when it comes down to it, it’s the final score that really counts. So as I go, please continue to keep this team the family I am leaving it as, and play each and every game as a TEAM, not as an INDIVIDUAL. I have truly enjoyed my past four years on this team and have made so many lasting friendships that I will cherish as I move on to my college career.
"LEADING A TEAM"
I never held as much responsibility compared to the work that goes into being captain on the basketball team. Becoming a leader and role model for this group of girls was a new and interesting experience. As an underclassman I never realized how much work and responsibility goes into being a team captain. I had always looked up to my captains and wanted to be just as good an athlete. Team members rely on the captains. As I begin to see the team as a whole, I have become aware that I am not only their leader but also their role model. Since the freshmen are brand new to the program, they are constantly looking for someone to look up to and follow. I know this because I was once in their exact position. Looking back, I remember how reliant I was on the captains. I hope to live up to that standard of dependency to the underclassmen and develop a strong level of trust between them. Although all of this responsibility brings along a lot of pressure, I am so lucky that I have two other girls to share this role with me. I am constantly learning from them and acquiring new skills of ways to be a great leader. It is nice to have captains that complement each other so well and work off of one another’s strengths. My goal for this team is not only to be successful in terms of winning, but I also want to create an environment where everyone is constantly depending on each other. The role of captain may come with a lot of responsibility, but I am so honored to be given the opportunity to lead this amazing team.
MAKE A WISH
If you ask any GA basketball player, parents, fans, or general attendees, they will tell you that the Make A Wish Tournament is truly special. Players are fueled by the palpable energy that overtakes the gym, students unite in the craziest of outfits to demonstrate their unwavering school spirit, and parents watch proudly as their children compete.
While this environment is the source of a great deal of excitement, the true specialness behind the tournament is the cause in which every person involved, whether they be players, community service organization members, volunteers, fans, or attendees, is contributing to. All of the tournament’s proceeds are donated to the Make A Wish Foundation, which “grants the wishes” of children with terminal illnesses. Any form of participation in this tournament directly impacts the lives of many children. This impact gives us, the players, a greater purpose when we step on the court Friday and Saturday nights. We are playing for children, helping their wishes become granted and their dreams come true. We, and everyone involved in this tournament, are taking part in something bigger than all of us and for that, I am grateful.
Dig Deep- You’re Stronger than You Think
I went to this one basketball camp back in middle school that lasted about three days during the summer. One day, after about five minutes of intense stationary ball handling at center court, people began to give up. Forearms burning, abs aching and overall fatigue signaling to us all that our bodies needed a break- or so we thought. The instructor showed no signs of letting us stop any time soon and was encouraging us to push harder, dig deeper, and keep going. Finally, he blew the whistle. He huddled the group together unimpressed and said adamantly, “Our bodies can do ten times more than our minds tell us we can. Stop letting your brain stifle your potential.”
And we were at it again.
I’m not sure how scientific this statement was. Whether it’s true or not I really don’t know, but it stuck with me and has truly changed my mindset. If there is one piece of advice I leave to you guys and athletes in general it would be to always give 100%. As Pat Riley once said, “There are only two options regarding commitment. You’re either IN or you’re OUT. There is no such thing as life in-between.” Be committed, have pride.
I have been lucky enough to be on this team with you guys and in this program the past four years. I’ve made unforgettable memories and friendships that I wouldn’t trade for anything. It is not until you’ve worked countless hours together, cried together, raged together, celebrated pure happiness together and everything in between that you find a true family. And I’ve found that within you all.
Hello students, staff, faculty, alumni, patriots, and scholars. Today I am up here to talk about something that is very near and dear to my heart. No, it is not Kanye West and no, it is not Kim Kardashian although she may come up a few times in the speech, I’m really here to talk about my favorite thing at GA: The girls basketball squad. We have spent everyday together for the past 92 days and I have loved every single second. The love may not have been completely apparent each day because Lilly’s elbows were terrorizing me or Abby was just being Abby or we were running another 24 because someone didn’t touch the line but, I never went home without a smile on my face and that is all thanks to you guys. We played so well together on the court and that has everything to do with the fact that we are family off of the court. Kendall is our beautifully tanned, golden eyed mom, Abby is our creepy uncle, Leena is everyone’s favorite older sister, Emily, Shan and Rachel are the babies, Lex is our crazy croc-wearing aunt, Erin is our sweet country-loving grandmother, Maeve is the moody yet endearing teenage sister, Cat is the distant cousin who's always just chillin, Lilly is the favorite child because she is actually perfect, and Jess is the hip aunt who’s down to party but will also listen to all of your problems and give you great advice. We are by no means the most conventional family but we have a hell of a lot of fun being that crazy family that we are. I just want to stand up here and thank all of you for making my high school basketball experience the absolute best. I will never forget our trips to New Orleans, Florida, and Baltimore, or the 6 am Thanksgiving practices, or the trainers room hangouts before practice, or my girl Cat. I am so thankful for all of the memories you guys have given me and just remember folks keep your heart engines at full throttle and always #fold.
What Makes Our Team Unique
What makes GA women basketball unique? Is it our friendship that prevails no matter what happens on the court or is it the notion that our very own team can make a mark in the GA tradition of greatness? Or maybe is it the dedicated coaches that push our potential everyday to be great? I think it is a combination. Our strong friendship throughout the grade levels give us our core strength. The daily team lunches and weekend hangouts after a game creates a sense of togetherness that shows especially on the court which gives us our unbreakable court chemistry. Any team can have unlimited potential. But, you need have driven players that are want to get better and coaches that can help you achieve your goals. Our coaches push us individually and as a unit, fueling us with unlimited potential. The unlimited potential gives us a chance to add to existing tradition and maybe even create our own. When a uniform is pulled over our head and tucked into our shorts, the front will always read Germantown Academy Patriots. Germantown Academy is a school with long standing traditions that give us a reason to step out on the court every day. It is not just ourselves, parents, and team we play for... We play for all others who have played and will play. We play to continue the GA tradition. What makes our team unique is that no matter what happens this season, these girls will always be some of my best friends. This team is my tradition.
At Germantown Academy, the girls’ basketball team is known for success. Whether it is a winning season or a championship title, the word “success” seems to follow. While this entails a certain amount of pressure for sure, it is our ability to face adversity with courage that enables us to continue our successful streak.
It was Winston Churchill that once said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” As a team, we take pride in our work ethic and I truly believe this is what sets us apart from other teams. Losing a game isn’t looked at as a means to hang our heads, but instead as an opportunity to work harder and push ourselves to win the next game. Winning three games in a row isn’t an excuse to take a day off or work any less. At GA, we feed off of each other’s positive energy and pick each other up when we’re down; it is cheesy, but true, there is no “I” in “team.”
It is widely acknowledged that our team is successful, yes, but I would argue that it is not our ability to win games that warrants this accolade. For the past four years, these girls have been some of my best friends. Without them, success wouldn’t be as sweet and defeat would be a lot harder to overcome.
Play Like Bobby
Make a Wish
Every year, the Germantown Academy basketball teams have the privilege of hosting the “Make-A-Wish” tournament. We battle some of the best teams in the area, which gathers a large crowd that the players feed off of the entire game. That’s what we, the players, love so much about Make-A-Wish - the unwavering support from our school and the incredible organization we put our jerseys on for.
We are exceedingly fortunate for the opportunity to play the game we love while fundraising for this amazing foundation. I will never forget the intense and heartfelt team huddles during the time-outs at Make-A-Wish - the rowdy student section cheering behind us as we give each other high-fives and words of encouragement. At Make-A-Wish, we don’t feel as if we’re playing for ourselves, but rather we are representing Germantown Academy and its devotion to helping the greater good.
This year, the Make-A-Wish tournament will have a special significance to the players and anyone who attends. The profound memory of our friend, Bobby Taggart, will reside in our hearts as we take the court, and that passion will be palpable to everyone in the stands. Bobby lived an energetic, thoughtful, and merciful life. At Make-A-Wish and throughout the rest of our season, we will aspire to play like Bobby - spirited and appreciative of every second.
Playing basketball for Germantown Academy comes with a lot of responsibility, but with that responsibility comes great pride. This sense of pride and responsibility stems from the high expectations that are set for the students by their teachers and coaches every day. Supporting the Make a Wish Tournament is a great example of how the standards that GA sets for its student body translates into a commitment to help others. During this competitive weekend, GA comes together to celebrate and cheer on the talent that exists within its halls. While this tournament is a great way to grow as a community, it is ultimately centered on a great organization that makes the dreams of others come true. Sometimes making a difference seems distant to high school students, but GA allows each of us to make a difference through hosting this tournament. Although this event could not exist without the basketball games, it also wouldn’t be possible without the outstanding leadership of Mr. Peter McVeigh, an amazing person who is the driving force behind teaching students to always give back. The Make a Wish Tournament is just one way that students show their ongoing commitment to give back when those around them need support and compassion.
Thanks Mr. McVeigh for all of your support over the years. You are the best!
It's All About Heart
Recently, Coach Retif chatted with graduating senior Margaret Anne Hubbell '14 to reflect on their shared experience during Margaret Anne's tenure as a Patriot. Hubbell's time at GA may have been brief, but her impact on the GA program was significant. The dialogue offers a glimpse of the solid character and poised demeanor of this very special young woman.
Coach Retif: Your high school career is over, but you left your mark on the GA program. You were chosen the Inter-Ac MVP and scored over 1000 points. What is one of your most memorable experiences?
Margaret Anne: One of the most memorable experiences happened Junior year when we came back from behind to beat Notre Dame….then beat them again in the States semi-final game.
CR: You are amazingly quick with your transition from defense to offense; and you are consistently the fastest player in transition. What do you attribute that quickness to; reaction time, conditioning or both? What advice can you give to younger players about improving this ability?
MA: I think this quickness is attributed to both reaction time and conditioning. I know when to react and to start running down the court when I know one of my teammates had possession of the ball. After that I take off sprinting down the court. Conditioning helps a lot so that I can consistently sprint down the court throughout the whole game. I don't know if I am the fastest on the court, but I can get down the court before other people because I want it more. It's all about heart.
CR: You averaged over 17 pppg and were one of the top scorers in the area. Late in the season your name was inadvertently left off the newspaper's list of top scorers. I remember apologizing and your poised response was "I don't care, that doesn't matter to me." It made me smile inside. Can you say more about what you were thinking and how to be a selfless leader?
MA: Nobody gets to be a top scorer by themselves. You have to remember that you have your teammates who give you the passes and get you open so that you can score. I didn't become the player I am by myself I had coaches and other people to help me and teach me how to play and develop as a player and a leader.
CR: Thanks for sharing your thoughts, that such a mature stance. Moving on, when you transferred to GA your junior year; what were the biggest adjustments and what advice do you have to incoming student athletes?
MA: Transferring as a junior was kind of like starting freshman year all over again. I had to prove myself to the coaching staff and my teammates. I didn't know if I was going to get to play a lot or start like I had previously at my old school. To any incoming student athletes my advice is to just try your hardest and don't leave any regrets on the floor. Everybody makes mistakes you just have to think positively and make up for your mistakes. You have to fail before you can succeed.
CR: What do you see as possible challenges for next year as a freshman and how have you prepared for the transition?
MA: Next year I know that I am going to be at the bottom of the totem pole again. I'm going to have to work the hardest I ever have in my life to try to be able to play. I'm already short for a post player in high school now I am going to be even shorter at the next level. To prepare for the next level I have been working a lot more on ball handling and shooting, so that I am prepared to be able to play facing the goal instead of just posting up all the time.
CR: You are passionate about CrossFit. How does that impact your basketball game? How often and how many days a week do you normally train? Do you have to train at a gym?
MA: CrossFit has helped me a lot with basketball. It has made me stronger and helped me a lot with my conditioning. Strength helps battle through the fouls and have more control over my body. The conditioning aspect of crossfit helps me to be able to play the whole game at full speed. Currently I crossfit 5 days a week. Before basketball season I used to do crossfit around 3 days a week, and shoot almost everyday. You don't have to belong to a gym to do crossfit, but it is better to go to a crossfit gym so that you can gain strength.
CR: Can you give a sample of a CrossFit W.O.D – Workout of the Day?
MA: This would be 5 Rounds for Time:
15 box jumps
21 kettlebell swings
Run 400 meters
CR: You're moving on to a new phase in your life; you can't turn back the hands of time. What advice would your share with the returning players?
MA: Enjoy the time you have to play in high school, it goes by fast. If you are having a bad game control your emotions so that it does not affect you or your teammates in a negative way. Be positive and always try your hardest no matter what.
Margaret Anne leaves home at the end of this month to continue her studies at West Point. Hopefully, before she heads out, we will have her on the bench for a few more summer games. Thanks for sharing you thoughts with the GA community.
Learning to Lead
A leader is someone who can take the talents and goals of a collection of people and orchestrate them to work together for the good of the group. While our GA girls’ basketball program is known both locally and nationally for the excellent teams and players that we produce, I think that one of the greatest skills that our coaches teach us each season is how to lead. From the beginning of my time at GA, it was made obvious to me that leadership is a quality that we all should strive for. We each have the ability to lead in one way or another and part of the goal of our oaches is to bring out the leader in us.
I think that one of the most rewarding things about leadership is that there are many ways in which we can lead and many characteristics that make a great leader. John Wooden was regarded as the greatest basketball coach of all time. He published a book in which he defined his pyramid of success. Within the pyramid, Coach Wooden highlighted fifteen traits that can help guide us as we look for success both on the court and off. The five traits that build the foundation of the pyramid and represent the first steps to success are industriousness, friendship, loyalty, cooperation, and enthusiasm.
Industriousness refers to the idea of working hard and leading through our actions. Starting with the example of older players, the hard work that all GA basketball players put in each and every day serves to inspire ourselves and our teammates to push each other farther than we could imagine.
When speaking of friendship, Coach Wooden said, “Strive to build a team filled with camaraderie and respect.” As part of the GA basketball program, our teammates act as our sisters and best friends. We play so well together on the court because of the bond that we have off the court. And while our captains and upperclassmen act in a position of leadership, they do so as our friends and peers.
With the foundational characteristic of loyalty, Coach Wooden said, “Be true to yourself. Be true to those you lead.” As the example of the leaders who came before our senior class now have shown, by relying on each other and by trusting in the power of working together, we have seen great success.
Cooperation within a team shows the desire to play for more than yourself. In our GA basketball program, beginning with the coaches and running all the way through the players, we havea sense of pride in the accomplishments of our team. No individual goals or agenda ever come before the good of our teammates. We care about each other and put the team’s best interests ahead of our own.
Finally, Coach Wooden said of enthusiasm, “Your energy and enjoyment, drive and dedication will stimulate and greatly inspire others.” As leaders of this basketball team, our senior class hopes that our love of the game and our true happiness at being a part of such a great tradition will rub off. We cannot wait to enjoy the journey of this season with our whole team.
Basketball has given me so many things since the day I started playing. One of those things is the many friendships that I have gained. I really started to cherish those friendships here at GA. During my many AAU seasons I never really had to say goodbye to anyone, minus a few, because I knew that I was always going to see them next season. But freshman year I realized that I would have to say goodbye to a class of seniors every single year. It got harder and harder as the years progressed, last year being the hardest. I had known Sarah since sixth grade and Jaryn is basically my sister. Saying goodbye to them and watching them graduate was extremely difficult. Playing with them here for three years gave me so many memories. I share these memories with my own class, who have readily filled the shoes of the seniors before us. We have been through and shared ups and downs, thick and thin, laughs and cries, health and injuries and I am not only ecstatic to call them my teammates or my friends…I am priviledged to call them my family. As hard as last year was to say goodbye, this year is going to be ten times harder. We are the biggest class of seniors that has gone through 4 years of high school basketball together that I know and we are also the closest. I have known Fran since we were 11, Natalie and Kiernan since we were 12 or 13, and Mel and Ang I met freshman year. We all have a pretty great history together and we all clicked freshman year. You wouldn’t even know Kiernan came in sophomore year; she fit right into our motley crew.
Filming the video together, that you are about to see, is something that I will never forget. It shows how well we work together and trust each other. I am so lucky and grateful to be a part of our fun and crazy class. But before I get too emotional, the time to say goodbye is yet to come and I am so happy that we have another season ahead of us to suit up together. Every year I have watched our team turn into a family through the leadership of our seniors. And this year I am truly looking forward to watching and helping our team transform into a family. Being a part of this team is a special thing, so cherish it while you can and make the most of it because it goes by unbelievably fast.
The traditions we have on our team is what connects every past, present, and future GA Girls’ Basketball player. They are some of the things that Alumni remember most about their high school experiences, what present players look forward to all Fall long, and what I’m so excited to tell the new players about tonight. It would be easy for me to just read a list of what we do every year as a team, but now that I’ve experienced everything for a few years now I’ve come to a greater appreciation of why we do them.
One of my favorite traditions is the Thanksgiving circle we do after practice before Thanksgiving. Everybody sits around in a circle, takes their shoes off and says what it would be like to walk in the person’s shoes next to them and says why they are thankful for that person. I remember freshman year, I was next to Coach Bender and Sarah Armstrong ’12. I was so nervous for my turn because I never really had to talk in front of people and I was new and I just didn’t really get was going on. But, today, I still remember what I said and what they said about me. This tradition has always brought our team closer because it shows everyone how much the people around them really care about them.
Traveling across the country together is another tradition we have. My freshman and sophomore year we went to Naples, Florida and last year, and this year we are going to Georgia. Travelling with the team is one of the most fun experiences ever. Natalie experienced her first time flying freshman year, and Nat, Fran, and I flew across the country together and experienced our first First Class flying experiences. We get to compete against some of the best competition in the country which helps us grow as a team. We have tons of team meals and outings on the trip and it is so much fun.
Another tradition type thing is that we host the Make a Wish tournament. All of the proceeds benefit the Make a Wish foundation which grants wishes to children with terminal illnesses. What makes this such a special tournament is that it brings the whole GA community together.
Other notable traditions are the community service projects we do every year, the Team Pollyanna, the 6am practice, and the singing of “Oh Happy Day”. Now I don’t want to give too much a way about the season but I want to end my speech by telling you guys how truly excited I am for this season. I am so happy all of you guys are playing and I’m really excited to continue and build upon the past traditions and make new ones as we go.
When I think about all of my high school memories, my mind constantly takes me to the basketball court. All of the basketball practices, games, and shooting sessions with my dad, gym classes, pep rallies, holiday programs, and senior step rehearsals bring me back to the place where I feel most at home. Yet, no matter how many events the gym holds, I remember it as the place where I became a part of the GA Girls Basketball program.
Being a part of this team is not just an activity, but is a part of me. I can’t imagine the person I would be today if I didn’t have this team, this school, and these experiences that have taught me so many crucial life lessons. It wasn’t always easy, and I wouldn’t expect it to be. Good things aren’t just handed to people, and sometimes you have to prove yourself to be deserving of the glory. GA lives on its tradition, and this tradition applies to basketball as well. Here, people wait their turn to be in the spotlight, step aside to give others the glory, because they know that the people in front of them have earned it. I have learned that your role on a team changes every season, no role is more or less important, but they are different nonetheless. I have been the bench warmer, the practice player, the starter, the shooter, the shorty (well I guess I have always had that role), but each role I had played made mea better player and person. I am certain of that.
I can’t help but smile when I think about when Coach Cath told us that when we get older “sometimes you’ll just pee a little,” or the time after we played Episcopal at their place after we had officially won the inter-ac and we danced and chanted in their locker room until it hurt. These are the memories that I will remember about high school. I won’t remember the essays I wrote or the tests I took; I will remember the times I spent with my friends on the athletic fields, the track, and especially on the basketball court.
When I look out at this room, there is such a wide variety of people who are going to make up the girls basketball team this season, such a balance. Some of us worry about going to college, while some are still worrying about getting used to high school. Some of us are entering our final months here at Germantown Academy, while others have been here merely three months.
The academics and athletics at Germantown Academy are beyond excellent. That is why most of us have chosen to spend our high school career here. I think the athletics here are truly defined by the academics. Finding a balance to your academics, extra-curriculars, and athletics is the key to success. At GA, it’s impossible to do everything you want to do and to do everything well. But instead of that being something that makes GA undesirable, it is exactly the reason that so many people know and honor the Germantown Academy name.
Basketball season is one of the busiest, and one of the best, seasons of the school year for basketball players. Beyond the normal sports team practices, add in the bus rides, Saturday games and practices, those nights where we have late practice, and it’s clear that we dedicate a lot of time to the sport. Then we think about the homework, tests, quizzes, papers, and other schoolwork that needs to be done. We worry about this balance between basketball and school that we are trying so hard to maintain. When I start to worry about one or the other, I try extremely hard to remind myself of what I call “the balance” because the reality is athletes have doing this for decades at GA. The academy has always had the facilities to help each student succeed at their fullest potential. While basketball is a sport that can take you far in life, at the end of the day, the academic foundation that Germantown Academy will provide you with and the life lessons you will learn on the court or in the classroom are the necessities that will help you not only succeed in college, but beyond.
One of the best things that Germantown Academy has provided me with is the opportunity to be seen as a multi-faceted person. I am never just seen as “a girl who plays basketball” or “a girl who takes four AP classes”. As GA student athletes, we do not fit into any specific categories. So I urge everyone who is younger or new to GA to be open to the idea of expanding your horizons and to always try to maintain the balance. You will only be at Germantown Academy for four years. And while I wish I had figured out the balance that I wanted, that worked for me, sooner, I am so glad that I finally did. But now the underclassmen have the opportunity to find their balance, and when doing so, I urge you to challenge yourself. These four years go by too fast, so I suggest that you always challenge yourself on the court and in the classroom because the truth is that the day you stop, you are not truly utilizing all that GA athletics and academics have to offer.
There is no basketball team that I would rather play for. I have been playing with most of the girls in my class since freshman year, when we stepped out onto the JV court as our own self-proclaimed “fab five”. But beyond that, there is no school I would rather go to. I have been in the classroom with these girls for years, and I truly respect all that they have accomplished academically. I hope that by the time we get to the end of the season, all of the girls who will be playing GA basketball for the first time, will agree that there is no other team, or school, they would rather be a part of.
The Grand Scheme
From the outside looking in, our families, friends, spectators, fans and any others who may have witnessed any game played by the Germantown Academy Girls basketball team might normally comment on the success and history of the program. But to us players, who have learned unforgettable and essential life lessons through the guidance of our coaches, the Germantown Academy Girls Basketball team is so much more than that. Sure, our coaches have groomed great players, we are all assets to a phenomenal program and we have a wide spread reputation as a winning team but it goes way beyond the X’s and O’s. Not too long ago I realized that all these years we have been maturing in the sport of basketball, but in the grand scheme of it all we have been shown the paths of becoming better people.
It all started with our first Christmas Tournament in Naples, Florida. We were there to play a few games with the hopes of returning with the championship banner. But that wasn’t our main focus once we arrived. Coach Retif introduced our team to eleven-year-old Andrea Constain, who had a life threatening disease but loved the sport of basketball. The team immediately fell in love with Andrea and we were touched when we saw how much it meant to her that we spent some time with her each day.
Andrea was one of many people whose lives we became a part of thanks to the selflessness we learned from Coach Retif. Along with that, our assistant Coach Nerney mentored the team on the importance and impact of our attitudes.
How our attitude is just as paramount in basketball as it is in life. We’ve learned how we must react to a tough loss the same way we can react to a bad grade. We have been taught to play on the string we have and it is essential in each of our lives.
The importance of putting others before ourselves, giving back, and the vast potential of our attitudes are just a few life lessons we have been taught. We have also learned the strength in building relationships, staying positive through adversity, and most of all no matter what it may be, giving 110%. We all put on the jersey and are honored to play for the Germantown Academy girls’ basketball program, but we leave the court and the program as better people and I am both thankful and blessed to have been a part of something so special. I dedicate this season and all my seasons to come, to Andrea Constain who passed away last year but will always have a place in my heart and in the Germantown Academy Girls Basketball program.
Everyone knows what a great girls’ basketball program GA has. We have the best coaches, the best players, and so much drive to win. I have been proud to be a part of such a talented team my entire career. However, the thing we do not always talk about is how much our team loves to give back. Community service just became a requirement here at GA, but it has always been an integral part of this team. Helping out with Coaches vs. Cancer, playing the Think Pink game, playing in the Make- A-Wish Tournament, running the clinic with the LaSalle Academy students, the list goes on and on. This year, we also plan to do service projects as a team. It is easy to forget how fortunate we all are, and working together as a team to help others is one of the best things we can do. When you help others, you gain even more compassion, and this is the type of person I want to play with. I have faced tragedy and tough circumstances, and seen the pain that they cause. When disaster strikes, whether it be disease, losing ones job, or any other misfortune, it is the kindness and support of others that really helps you get through it.
Coach Nerney often says that one should have an attitude of gratitude. This means being excited to be where you are, and grateful for the opportunity you have to face each challenge. Our team has really learned to exemplify this mantra. When we give back, we show our gratitude for being so privileged, because we are. Our lives are all very lucky, and when you are on this team, you learn what it means to be grateful, to take advantage of every test, because it is a chance to prove your worth.
Coach Retif likes to say that GA basketball does not just make you a better basketball player, but also makes you a better person. This is true. This team is about so much more than winning. It is about discipline, determination, teamwork, and kindness. We have helped each other through problems in the past, and will continue to do so. The inherent goodness in each player on this team is what tells me we will be successful this year, even more than statistics and impressive plays. When we are good people, we are good teammates, and a team full of good teammates can do anything.
Who We Are
GA Girls’ Basketball has a unique identity that is not solely built on the present or on the talent we have any given year. We are a conglomerate of past players and their characters and present players and their talents. We are Caroline Doty’s resilience through knee injuries; we are Laura Kurz’s leadership; we are Tory Thierolf’s quiet example, Maggie Lucas’s pumping energy. We have built upon the past to become the team we are now. We are not only Alexa Gallagher’s hustle or Jaryn Garner’s fierce tenacity, but our bench’s thrilled cheers and our JV’s dutiful defense in practice that pushes us. We are not only players; we are Coach Retif’s passion and Coach Nerney’s attitude. We embody our assistant coaches’ love for the game. We are our school’s emphasis on tradition. We have melded together as a team and unit.
But we are also something special off of the court. I have always felt special being a part of such a talented team from year to year. Maybe I am incredibly biased, but I have never been a part of or seen another team come together as we have off the court. We emphasize our attitudes and how basketball translates to other parts of our lives. We are all different people but the respect that we learn on the court helps us respect and love each other during the other times we spend together. We all understand that someday, we will stop playing basketball, some earlier than others, but that the feeling of GA Girls’ Basketball will carry with us.
Oh Happy Day
If I tried to sum up in a few words what it’s like to play for this team, it would be impossible. So instead, I’ll share a moment that I think describes our team and shows why we’ve been so successful each year. Three years ago when I was a freshman, we went into the locker room at halftime after playing a really bad half, and I remember everyone’s heads were down and nobody said a word. Finally, Caroline Doty stepped up in front of us and started singing ‘Oh Happy Day.’ Slowly, everyone started clapping along and filling in the chorus as Caroline sang a solo, and then the big high-pitched note came, and she hit it perfectly. After the game I remember hearing parents say that they could hear us all the way in the stands, we were so loud. Although it seems like a typical girl moment, where you sing a song and everything is better momentarily, this song actually has a much bigger long-term impact on the team and me.
Most importantly, it shows how close we are as a team. There are always going to be times when you face adversity as a team, but the ability to bounce back together instead of trying to conquer something individually, makes a great team. Singing this song made us come together closer than ever, and helped us win that game. One of the great things about this team is that we always stick together, especially in tough games. Staying together as one unit is a big reason why we’ve been so successful, and this moment demonstrates how tight we are.
The ‘Oh Happy Day’ song has now become our staple song every season, and for that, I think this moment shows the tradition our team has. Even though this happened when most of the current team wasn’t there, it is sung every year, and they will soon experience it. When traditions are passed on from team to team, a bond is created, and this song is the bond that will keep our team together as we start our season. It will energize us again just like the first time, it will remind us of Caroline, and make us work hard and strive to be the best we can like she does, and it will makes us come together as a team like it did three years ago. I hope this song gets carried on in the future, and makes everyone realize the things that are special about this team.
Coming to Germantown Academy in 7thgrade was one of the best decisions I have made so far in my life. This school has such high expectations both academically and athletically and has taught me so many lessons. Having the privilege to play varsity basketball in 8thgrade was definitely a blessing. It was not easy since I was one of the smallest players on the team however it taught me where I had to get to. Coming in as a freshman I knew what was expected but still had so much to learn. I learned so much from the upper classmen who took me under their wing and looked out for me. This is just one that that has stood out to me in the years that I have been here and that is the willingness people have to go out of their way and help others.
Playing basketball at GA for the past four years has also provided me with so many opportunities and has likewise taught me several valuable lessons. I have learned how important it is to work as a unit and to sacrifice individual gain for the team’s greater good. It has taught me how to be a leader and along with that how to communicate with others. There have been different obstacles that have come my way while playing basketball and these experiences have prepared me to deal with adversity, have patience, and to become accountable for how I perform on and off the court. Playing GA basketball is therefore more than just a sport for me. It has helped me to grow as a person, to learn how to manage my time, and to develop and maintain positive relationships with others. This is what basketball has done for me however what makes my experience on this team exceptional is the people that have taught me, challenged me, and helped me along the way.
Being a part of the girl basketball program at GA has definitely had a huge impact on my life. When I started out in the program freshmen year, I was scared, timid, and nervous. The basketball team is intense and I felt insecure about my ability. Winter break of my freshmen year, the team traveled to Florida for a tournament. While on the trip, I became comfortable with the team; building lasting friendships that I don’t know what I would do without today. From that point on, I loved everything about the basketball program. Thinking back to being nervous makes me laugh, because being a part of the basketball team is one of the best decisions I made at GA and it will be one of my best memories from high school. The team has become a second family. Although basketball is not my best or first sport, I am fully dedicated to the program, knowing that it will make me a better athlete and person. I love the intense practices that require focus and drive, and the games are always exciting. To be part of something greater than myself means a lot to me, and basketball offers just that. Coach Retif and Nearny have helped me understand determination, and attitude. The lessons I have learned from them have helped me in school, sports, and life in general. Last year, Coach Neary gave each player a quote about attitude. It sits on my nightstand and I look at it almost every day. The basketball team has helped shaped me into the person I have become, and I plan on using many of my lessons from basketball throughout life.
Basketball is a game of hard work filled with challenges and rewards. To be successful a team must obviously work hard individually, but must also work hard together. Chemistry is one factor that can make a team unstoppable and my team, the Germantown Academy Patriots, experienced such success last year when we went undefeated. Our team was overflowing with talent but we played our best due to our team unity. In games, our unselfish play allowed us to make the extra pass, which in the end resulted in everyone contributing to the win. This technique created positive energy throughout our team and everyone was always supportive, especially in practice where we challenged each other. We began to learn each other’s way of play and together grew as not solely players, but as a team. This family-like bond elevated our game to a new level where opponents could not physically or mentally beat us. Overcoming the challenge of uniting our talents to form a cohesive team allowed us to not only have an undefeated season but also an enjoyable one.
Over the years I have had some of the most amazing opportunities through playing on the Germantown Academy Girls Basketball team. We have traveled to Naples, Florida and Phoenix, Arizona, we have played against some of the best players and teams in the country, and have received countless numbers of accolades as a team. One of the most memorable and rewarding experiences for me, however, has been when our team was introduced to a little girl named Andrea last year at the Naples Holiday Shootout.
Andrea copes with several physical disabilities and has gone through about twenty surgeries over the course of her life, and she still has one of the most positive and mature attitudes that I have seen in someone, especially at her age. Her perseverance has had a huge effect on my life and has inspired me greatly. It can be easy sometimes in athletics to lose perspective, or to think it is the end of the world after a loss or a bad game. But after having the opportunity to meet someone as special as Andrea, who overcomes challenges everyday you come to realize what is really important. Andrea may not know it but her strength has taught me so much, and since I met her I have done my best to apply what I have learned from her to every aspect of my life, whether it be on or off the court.
Since I have been born, basketball has been so much more than just a sport. Nearly every aspect of my life has been affected by and prioritized by basketball. Its seemingly monumental influence has blessed me to meet amazing people, build lifelong friendships, and experience some of the best moments of my life. My love for basketball matured as my goals grew greater – earning a Division I college scholarship. It always seemed appropriate to live or die by each game because of the sport’s impact on my future. Two years ago my eyes were opened to the sport’s most important value for people who relied on it purely for the game and its camaraderie. When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, a high school by the name of Chapelle was deliberately affected. My high school coach, Sherri Retif, a native from Louisiana, organized a tournament in which all the proceeds would benefit the rebuilding of their town. She invited Chapelle to come to Pennsylvania to play two games, one against our team. In meeting the girls and coaches at a dinner held the night before our game, my teammates and I listened to their stories and experiences. They had suffered greatly; many completely losing their homes and belongings, and having to work to help their families survive financially. Emotionally, these girls relied on basketball as their escape to the turmoil that surrounded them. There was a heartwarming atmosphere the next day at our game. The Chapelle players displayed the utmost respect for my school and team. Their sportsmanship was incomparable to any other team we faced. I will never forget their sincere thankfulness to the sport in continuing to bind them together no matter the outcome of the game. This experience showed me the power and significance sports truly have. The Chapelle players revealed such an honorable character that I will always admire and never forget.
Make A Wish
Sometimes the deeper meaning of the Make-A-Wish tournament isn’t always apparent. When someone walks up to the gym on that Friday or Saturday night, they probably notice a number of things. They see student volunteers dishing out snacks to the people at the concession stand or monotonously handing out admission tickets to excited spectators. They hear the pounding of basketballs against the hardwood floor as teams prepare to play some of their best competition, or the resonating cheers of the GA Superfans as our teams pull out a win. But often times these sights and sounds don’t reveal the real meaning behind the Make-A-Wish Tournament. Each person involved in the tournaments is contributing to a cause much bigger than what goes on in the gym. The Make-A-Wish Tournament donates all its proceeds to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which “grants the wishes” of children with terminal illnesses. It provides these kids with a family trip they might not have been able to take otherwise. To be a participant in this tournament shows me that this whole thing isn’t about the basketball, the spectators, or even Germantown Academy itself. It’s about becoming a part of something bigger than me. When my teammates and I step on the court Friday and Saturday nights, we aren’t just playing to defeat an opponent. We’re playing for children who benefit from our efforts, and that’s what makes this tournament so special to me. I’m thankful to have an opportunity to contribute to this tournament and help those in need, and I speak for the whole Girl’s Basketball Team when I say this. Good luck to all the participating teams and thank you so much to everyone who contributed to this tournament’s success
Two Sport Athletes
In middle school, I played a lot of sports. Soccer wasn’t my thing, no foot-eye coordination. Field Hockey hurt my back too much, and I couldn’t hit the ball in softball. But basketball and swimming were two sports that I excelled in. Going into high school, I had to make a choice because basketball and swimming were the same season. I chose basketball but decided to keep my feet in the water by playing water polo in the fall. I found that water polo was somewhat like basketball – play development was similar, like setting picks, shooting the ball, rebounding, fast breaks, outlet passing. Teamwork is key to success. These sports provided a great cross training regiment for me. I quickly became dedicated to both.
I chose to be a two-sport athlete for two reasons. First, sports have always been a huge part of my life and they have taught me so much. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without the lessons that I have learned and the adversities that I have had to overcome. Sports have taught me to persevere, to work hard and the rewards will come. Maybe not immediately, but if you keep working, you will reap the benefits. The second reason is the people that I’ve meet through sports. The girls on my teams have become like sisters to me. The relationships that I have formed with them have influenced me in a way that will last forever.
The time is fast approaching when I will become a one-sport athlete – college presents the challenge of Division 1 water polo. My years of playing basketball will stay with me forever. The lessons I’ve learned on and off the court will be with me in the pool and beyond my college years. The friendships I’ve been privileged to form will last a lifetime.
I’ve always heard the saying, when life gives you lemons make lemonade. I always thought that the saying could only be applied to one part of my life, the part outside of basketball. However, after playing basketball for eight years of my life that saying means a lot more than the idea that you have to make the most out of what you have.
Over the past three years I have learned through basketball that things aren’t guaranteed. Sometimes the outcome of games won’t go as well as I had hoped, or sometimes I wish I had played better. However, I have learned that the past is the past and if something doesn’t go my way or I don’t play as hard as I had wanted to, to keep my head up and persevere even when it gets tough. Recently, I was told that the only thing in a game that I can control completely is my attitude. I have realized that I have to take what I am given and the lessons that I have learned through my mistakes to become the better player that I want to be. I know that I will make mistakes but I have to use my attitude to keep my head held high so that I can become a stronger and smarter individual.From learning that I have to use what I am given is something that can be applied to all parts of my life. When I have off days whether it is on or off the court, I know that I have the ability to control myself so that even when I do make mistakes I learn from them and become stronger for the future.
Being a part of the Germantown Academy varsity basketball team is indescribable. There is a team chemistry that has evolved over many years of dedication and hard work.
This year, as I watched try-outs from the sidelines on a fold out chair I knew this season was going to be another experience I’ll always remember. The most I have ever missed of an athletic event was when I was 14 and fractured my ankle ten days before the AAU National Championships. At the time it was the worst thing that could have happened. I was determined to continue to be a part of that team, even if it was from the bench. The experience was unforgettable, as I rooted my team on to a National Championship. Now, not being able to compete from the floor only adds more determination to the challenge of becoming InterAc champions for the 10thstraight year in a row.
Being apart of this team is so special and honorable that even being out the entire year with my ACL injury doesn’t stop me from feeling any less a part of this team. This team is very special with not only our committed coaches but each and every player. Sitting on that fold up chair I witnessed skilled players helping out the inexperienced players, the veterans joking around with the freshmen, and the whole team working together as one. Being apart of such a tremendous tradition as a senior, I realize each year is a different experience, a different challenge. Being stationed on the bench isn’t a detriment but is a chance to experience yet another great year with a remarkable team, a team I’ve grown to love.
The experience of being a part of the GA Girls basketball team is about Saturday morning practices, traveling to and playing in winter tournaments and the 30 games played throughout the season. We go through both the good and the bad, but whatever we encounter, we always stick together. My experience at Germantown Academy has been unforgettable. The bonds that I have developed with all of my teammates throughout the four years I have played here have really helped me to become the person I am today. The excellent leaders who have helped guide me since freshman year were great examples for how I can be a leader for the younger players this year. As a senior this year, I have the privilege of being a captain, and I am looking forward to living up to the past leaders by winning another Inter-Ac championship.
When looking at records from years past, it is evident that our team has been successful. Although the success of the Germantown Academy basketball team goes much deeper than any numbers can show. Here at GA success is determined both on and off the court. Success is measured in practice with every last sprint, every lay up and every pass made. Success is measured in games by preparing mentally and physically, executing plays correctly and encouraging teammates. Most importantly success at Germantown Academy is measured within the people who make up the team. The support we have for one another has led us to become better basketball players and better people. The bonds between teammates and coaches have helped to encourage everyone to work harder and achieve goals we set for ourselves.
Success is a journey. It’s achieving something you set out to do and overcoming obstacles along the way. As a senior at GA this year, I’m excited for the journey ahead and all the endeavors we as a team will encounter this year as we continue our tradition of success.
Team Participation Develops Character
Character building is what happens on a good team when you think your just learning how to play basketball. You come in as a freshman trying your best and a senior helps you up when you fall down. This kind of thing becomes contagious and you learn that doing what is best for the team usually ends up being best for you.
Here at Germantown Academy I am a senior and I have been lucky enough to play with some great players and even greater people. We have pushed each other to be the best we can be day in and day out on and off the court. My team has become a second family to me from my coaches teaching me valuable lessons everyday, to my teammates whom I have shared incredible experiences with. I only hope that I can do my part to reach out to the new freshman and help them to grow as athletes and people too.
I am still learning everyday and I am extremely excited about our team this year. I know the ball will not always bounce our way, but I also know that when it does not we will just work harder and pick each other up because that is what good teams do and that is what character athletes do. It has been an honor and a privilege to be a part of Germantown Academy’s basketball team and I look forward to continuing to learn and grow stronger with my teammates this year.
What Does It Mean To Be a Member of This Team
There are few greater honors bestowed upon a student than the honor of representing her school through participation in varsity athletics. As a member of the varsity basketball team at Germantown Academy since my freshman year, I have practiced and competed alongside some of the finest female basketball players our country has to offer. As a team, we have traveled to just about every region of the United States and have enjoyed many, many victories. Our school has been dubbed a basketball “powerhouse” in the local area, and while there is a lot of excitement generated by such language, being part of this team at this particular school carries with it a much deeper meaning to me.
When I step on the court to play basketball for GA, I can look up into the stands on any given day and see the faces of my classmates and their families, my teachers, and our administrators. I know they are there not only to see a great performance or contest; they are there to support my teammates and me through encouragement, consolation, and congratulations. The community of Germantown Academy is ever-present, and it inspires me to give my heart and soul on the court for the school--the family--that I have come to love.
Why Our Team is Unique
When asked what makes us unique: three things stood out, and although they sound cliché, they fit: teamwork, determination and balance. . We play in the Inter-Ac League and have been champions of this league for four consecutive years; so you could say that we are used to winning. However, that alone cannot make a team. There are countless teams with winning records, but there are few, if any teams that work harder than us. Looking at our team we are not very intimidating. We overcome our lack of height with speed, intellect and most of all, HUSTLE! In practice, we are always challenging and pushing each other to make our teammates better players. We can honestly say our practices are so tiring that our games sometimes seem easy.
Many teams rely on only a few players to carry the team. We have confidence that each player has an important role. On any given day, someone else could step up and make the difference in a game. We attribute this not only to the talent we have but also to our close relationships. Our long distance trips have enabled us to travel and mature, and we have created strong bonds. We are good friends inside and outside of basketball as well. Time spent at holiday tournaments has helped us form friendships that we otherwise might not have developed.
Finally, our team is full of multitalented girls. We must be able to balance basketball and our rigorous academics, as well as outside activities. Every player on our team plays more than one sport. Over half of us play three sports, including cross-country, field hockey, soccer, water polo, softball, tennis, track, lacrosse and diving. Also, at our school there are many opportunities to get involved with Community Service. Many of our players are a part of this organization, spending Saturdays with underprivileged children on ‘Buddy Day’ or helping to build house at Habitat for Humanity. While we all devote much time and effort to basketball, we also have other interests that make us unique. The GA Girls Basketball Team prides itself on being well- rounded, but when November 11th comes around we are focused and ready to work.
|Patricia Huntingdon '80||Stanford, Field Hockey|
|Pam Brady '85||Princeton University|
|Deena Dioria Cross '90||Moravian College, DIII Final Four|
|Jen Winters '88||Susquehanna University|
|Ali Daley '89||Boston College|
|Deirdre Hendrie '89||Elizabethtown College|
|Dana Diorio Band '89||Muhlenburg College, Lacrosse |
|Cathy Hebling Peduzzi '94||American University|
|Monica Williams '97||Auburn University|
|Diana Caramanico '97||University of Pennsylvania |
|Katie Maxwell '97||Ursinus College|
|Mandy Olley '97||Old Dominion University|
|Kristey Sarnocinski '99||Moravian College|
|Chelsea Kaden '00 ||University of Pennsylvania, Lacrosse|
|Katie Curtin '00||Lafayette University, Lacrosse|
|Gillian Goring ||North Carolina State University; Mystics (WNBA)|
|Erin Osborn '01||Dartmouth University, Soccer, Captain|
|Kelly Winning '02 ||Colgate University, Lacrosse|
|Joey Rhoads '03||University of Pennsylvania, Captain|
|Stephanie Spada '03||Brown University|
|Jessica Chadwin '03 ||Temple University, Lacrosse|
|Laura Kurz '04||Villanova University, Captain|
|Lauren Freid '04||Harvard University|
|Becca Buckler '04||Bates College |
|Niki Finelli '05||Harvard University, Captain |
|Jenna Washabaugh '06||Princeton University, Lacrosse, Captain|
|Colleen Magarity '07||Northwestern University, Lacrosse, Captain|
- National Champions '08, 09, '11
|Caitlin McGovern '07 ||Boston College, Field Hockey, Captain|
|Caroline Doty '08||University of Connecticut, Captain|
-National Champions '09, '10, '13
|Brianne Cowden '08||Trinity College|
|Jesse Carey '09||Villanova University, Captain|
|Laura Karbach '09||Wagner College, Water Polo, Captain|
|Maggie Ebbott '10||Fairfield University, Lacrosse |
|Maggie Lucas '10 ||Penn State University, Big Ten Rookie of the year, NCAA All-American '13, '14, WNBA Indiana Fever|
|Tory Thierolf '10 ||Drexel University, NIT Champions '13|
|Alexa Gallagher '11 ||DePaul University |
|Dana Lotito '11||College of William & Mary|
|Monica Shacker '11 ||Philadelphia University, Captain|
|Jaryn Garner '12||St. Joseph's University|
|Kiernan McCloskey '13||Lehigh University|
|Dempsey Cooper '13||Rhode Island University|
|Fran Sweeney '13||Emory University|
|Melanie Repella '13||New York University|
|Angela Upright '13||Ursinus College|
|Margaret Anne Hubbell '14||West Point|
|Olivia Gorman '15||Wesleyan University, Connecticut|
Erin Lindahl '16
|Kendall Grasela '16||University of Pennsylvania|
|Lauren Oeth '16||Bloomsburg University|
|Leena Kardacz '16||Emerson College|
|Lilly Bolen '17||Tufts University|
|Catherine Polisano '18||Fordham University|
|Alexa Naessens '18||Colgate University|
ALL DECADE TEAM 1999-2008
REPRESENTING 10 CONSECUTIVE INTER-AC CHAMPIONSHIPS
|Chelsea Kaden '00||University of Pennsylvania, Lacrosse |
|Gillian Goring||North Carolina State University; Mystics (WNBA)|
|Erin Osborn '01||Dartmouth University, Soccer|
|Erin Winning '02||Colgate University|
|Joey Rhoads '03||University of Pennsylvania; Finland, Spain, Germany|
|Stephania Spada '03||Brown University|
|Laura Kurz '04 ||University of Villanova; Greece|
|Lauren Freid '04||Harvard University|
|Niki Finelli '05||Harvard University |
|Colleen Magarity '07||Northwestern University, Lacrosse, Captain|
- National Champions '08, 09, '11
|Caroline Doty '08||University of Connecticut, Captain|
-National Champions '09, '10, '11, '13
ALL DECADE TEAM 2009-2018
|Jesse Carey '09||Villanova University |
|Tory Thierolf '10||Drexel University|
|Maggie Lucas '10||Penn State University, Atlanta Dream (WNBA)|
|Alexa Gallagher '11||DePaul University|
|Jaryn Garner '12||St. Joseph's University|
|Fran Sweeney '13||Emory University|
|Kiernan McCloskey '13||Lehigh University|
|Margaret Anne Hubbell '14||United States Military Academy|
|Olivia Gorman '15||Wesleyan University |
|Erin Lindahl '16||Emory University|
|Kendall Grasella '16||University of Pennsylvania|
|Lilly Bolen '17||Tufts University|
|Alexa Naessens '18||Colgate University|
|Catherine Polisano '18||Fordham University|
Every December, Germantown Academy hosts the annual Make A Wish Basketball Showcase. All proceeds from the tournament benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Make-A-Wish creates life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. The Make-A-Wish Foundation seeks to bring every eligible child's wish to life because a wish is an integral part of a child's treatment journey. Research shows children who have wishes granted can build the physical and emotional strength they need to fight their illness. Headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, Make-A-Wish is the world’s leading children’s wish-granting organization, serving children in every community in the United States and in more than 50 countries worldwide. Together, generous donors, supporters, staff and more than 39,000 volunteers across the U.S., grant a wish every 34 minutes, on average, somewhere in the country. Since 1986, Make-A-Wish Philadelphia, Delaware and Susquehanna Valley has fulfilled more than 6,800 transformational wishes for local children with critical illnesses.