Name: The Red Devils Girls Basketball Team
Age: Freshmen to Seniors
School: Peekskill High School
Accomplishment: The girlson Saturday, March 19 making history as the first girls team in any sport at PHS to win that title.
Key to Awesomeness: Hard work and dedication. At their first practice after winning the state championship title on Tuesday, no one was resting on her laurels. After a whole season of practice six times a week for two or more hours a day plus 5 a.m. practices, the girls are still going strong. On Tuesday afternoon the team ran drill after drill, motivating each other to keep up the hard work for this last week of practice leading up to the State Federation Championship on March 26.
“This is so important for us because we have all wanted it. We have wanted to play on the big court so bad. We really wanted to get that experience together,” said starter Kiana Letsinger, a 18-year-old senior shooting guard.
“We wanted to be the first girls team to make it happen,” added starter Jazmin Garcia, 17, who plays small forward.
Most of the seniors on the team have been dreaming of making it to states since the fourth grade and have helped each other accomplish that dream by pushing each other to work hard on the court and in school.
“We are all smart so we know what we have to do,” Garcia said. The girls do their homework together before practice or while they wait for the junior varsity games finish.
They also motivate each other to stay focused and maintain stamina, with the support of Coach Rodney Headley Jr. and assistant coaches.
“We’ve learned how to keep our breath and really pace ourselves,” Garcia said.
“In the second half we know it’s our time to go and we are prepared for it,” Letsinger said.
At Tuesday’s practice Headley Jr. congratulated his team as they passed around the sectional, regional and state championship basketballs to sign, but he also kept them focused on the Federation Tournament ahead. Pointing to the boys basketball 2007 state tournament championship flag on the wall, Headley Jr. told the girls: “That’s the flag you want.”
“Their ability to take these intense work outs in stride is impressive. No one ever quits,” Headley Jr. said.
“To be the first one at PHS in a girls sport (to win this championship) is so significant for their friendships. It is really something to motivate other young girls.”
Latisha Clark, 15-year-old freshman forward, summed it up, explaining the weight of the win for herself, her team and her school. “It feels great, it makes me feel like I am actually a part of history.”
The girls are playing in the State Federation Tournament on Saturday, March 26 at 12 p.m. at the Times Union Center in Albany.