“Together on three…”

FAHS Girls Basketball

Kaitlyn Burke, Sports Editor

Junior, Kiara Wolfram shoots a floater in the paint. Photo Credit: TJK Wolf Productions

     With many rules that shift the culture of winter sports, girls basketball fails to let this disrupt them in having a great season. A group full of resilient young women stead through multiple obstacles and constant change all the while finding success in the season. The loss of fans, wearing a mask at all times, separating on the bus to and from games, not being able to high five the other team, not being able to perform a tip at the start of the game, and the possibility of having to quarantine are just a few of the things that have altered the normality from last season to now. The girls continue to take advantage of the opportunities they receive, constantly scheduling new games. The girls basketball team will refuse to let this season and all of its modifications drag them below the surface. 

     The team faces many other challenges other than the ones the COVID-19 virus has inflicted. For several seasons in a row, the girls basketball team has been stuck in quite a rut. Having not won a Badger South conference game in 6 years, and going through a number of coaches during that time, the girls struggle to battle with their opponents. A number of games end up looking like their game on January 8th vs. Edgewood, where Fort managed a 31 point difference between the Blackhawks and the Crusaders. The final score was 38-69 in favor of Edgewood. The lack of consistency the program faces in terms of coaching staff can make it hard for the girls to feel a sense of stability. In the past two seasons the program has seen a new head coach, 2 new varsity assistant coaches, two new JV head coaches, and two new JV assistant coaches. On the flip side, the girls obtain plentiful knowledge from all these different sources. The girls basketball program in the 2020-21 season is also very young with its lack of seniors. Julia Kantners and Alexis Jacobsen are their only senior players this year. Even though this season continues to throw obstacles at the players and coaches in the program, they are resilient and continue to push through. “Obviously playing through a pandemic is not ideal and can be weird and difficult. The changes of little to no fans, playing in a mask, and just overall all Covid precautions take a lot away from us. The schedule is always constantly changing and things are getting cancelled or moved. However, at least we found a way to make the season work.” says varsity starter Tyla Staude, a junior. 

     COVID-19 has taught these girls to not take second of what they get for granted. Opportunities and new chances to get better shine through COVID-19 setbacks like light under a door. They continue to find the good when all else seems bad. Junior, Taylor Marquart shares something positive about the girls basketball program saying, “Something really fun about girls basketball is that we all enjoy the time before the game in the locker room. We all are just having a good time listening to music while getting ready and it just gets everyone pumped up.”

     Besides the girls finding many things to be grateful for, head coach Michael Rajsich adds to the list with some of his decisions. From the moment he started coaching he made some decisions that would greatly favor the program. He has given the opportunity to many underclassmen to prove themselves, and has given many of them varsity minutes. This has paved the way for successful future seasons, having made the program so young. In the 2019-20 season he started freshman (now a sophomore) Brooke Christiansen, and started many sophomores (now juniors) like Taylor Marquart and Tyla Staude. He also gave freshman (now sophomore) Elly Kohl

Sophomore, Brooke Christiansen goes up for a contested layup.
Photo Credit: TJK Wolf Productions

some playing time. This season, he starts all juniors and sophomores, with the hope that the team finds even more success in the future than they have this year and past years. Taylor Marquart comments, “Our team this year is mainly made up of sophomores and juniors which I think definitely helps with the future seasons.” Tyla Staude shares her own experiences with such events and how it has affected her positively, “I was on varsity as a freshman, and although it was difficult, it really has helped me now to be a dynamic varsity player with the experience I had so young.”

     Girls basketball continues to trudge through this season taking opportunities from left and right, constantly making additions to their already busy schedule. They are lucky to have had the entire season with no team quarantines and have done a great job avoiding those matters. They have made major improvements from last season, having defeated Whitewater, Elkhorn, Johnson Creek, Sauk Prairie, Williams Bay, Milton and Baraboo. With the defeat of Milton under their belts, they have ended the streak of conference game losses. A win against Beloit Turner High School on Tuesday, February 9th earned the girls another game to play on Friday, February 12th. Sadly, the girls’ season would come to a brutal end that day in the Regional Final with a 22-58 loss against Edgerton Crimson Tide.