Beyond the Court

A lifetime bond made through basketball


Photo by A. Curtis

Genesis Young (11) goes in for a layup against Boiling Springs.

Ansley Dantin, Variety Co-Editor/ Social Media Coordinator

The women’s varsity basketball team at Spartanburg High School is a tight-knit group of young women all brought together by the love of the sport. Members of the team have been playing since elementary school and others joined in high school, but the competitive nature of the sport holds the Lady Vikes together. To perform their best in each game, the whole team must be working as one machine, in sync and on time. This mentality applies both in practice and during a game. Multiple girls on the team also play Amateur Athletic Union, or AAU, basketball together, and it has an impact on the teams’ bond overall.

Genesis Young (11) has been playing on the basketball team for three years. She also participates in AAU club and travel basketball with a few other young athletes from the high school’s basketball team.

“Playing AAU with your teammates helps you see your teammate at their full potential and that helps you figure out what you need to do to gain chemistry with your teammates which would help your team in school basketball when you all return,” Young said.

Many players on the team feel that a strong bond with their teammates helps them play better during games and be a better person. Players and coaches alike believe that basketball teaches young women leadership skills that help shape their futures.

Julia Graham (12) has been playing on the SHS basketball team for four years and feels a strong connection to the sport and to her teammates. She believes that playing the sport has taught her many things that will help her in the future.

“I originally did not plan on playing basketball in high school, but Coach (Sharon) Dillon convinced me to do it. Basketball has taught me how to be a leader, work through adversity and has brought me into a family that I know I can count on even after high school,” Graham said.  “Playing at Spartan high has allowed me to create bonds with people I might not have ever met outside of the sport, and I will cherish the memories we have made. Some of the seniors and I have been playing together since seventh grade, and while it’s sad to see our senior year ending, I’m grateful for the six years we had together on and off the court.”

The Lady Vikings, although they had a losing season with a record of 10-20, made the playoffs. The girls played hard, but ended their season by losing in the first round of the playoffs. Even though having a winning season is important, many of the players value the relationships they have made on the court more than their record.

Bonds are a powerful thing that people can carry with them throughout life. The bond made between people all reaching for the same goal with common focuses of a ball and a basket will always be powerful.

Mattilyn Gillian (12) believes that basketball has impacted her life in more ways than one.

”Basketball is more than a sport – it’s a gift. Everyday I’m grateful to be around and have my teammates as a second family,” Gillian said.