Watch out Virgin Islands, St. John has a varsity lady hoops team for the first time.
Gifft Hill School’s recently-organized girls varsity basketball team has been practicing twice a week and taking on the boy’s varsity team as well.
Under the leadership of GHS middle school teacher Michelle McArthur, the newly formed nine girl team might not be the best, but they could be the hardest working basketball team around.
“This is our first year and we know that we might not win many games, but our goal is to be the team that works the hardest,” said McArthur. “All of the girls work really, really hard and I’ve seen tons of improvement already. They are really doing well.”
Hardest Working Team
“The hardest working team is the team I want,” McArthur added.
McArthur, who brings along four years of high school basketball and intramural collegiate experience, credited GHS junior — and St. John Tradewinds columnist — Cassie Pociask for the creation of the team.
“I played for six years in the states before moving down here,” said Georgia-native Pociask. “I was on my ninth grade team when my family moved here. I really wanted to start a team here and talked to Scott Crawford and Miss Michelle (McArthur).”
Pociask, the team’s co-captain, even did a bit of recruiting and talked the team up enough to get nine girls between grades seven and 12 to join.
While some of the girls had never touched a basketball before in their lives, a few had played stateside before their families relocated to the Virgin Islands.
“Really Fun” Sport
“I played in the states and thought it was really fun,” said seventh grader Elan Shick. “It’s the only sport I’m good at. I’m really excited that there is a team here now.”
Fellow seventh grader Coral Breuning joined for the health benefits.
“I played basketball on the third and fourth grade team and it’s a fun sport,” said Breuning. “I wanted to join to keep me active.”
For co-captain senior Rachel Kitchen, this is her first taste of basketball.
“I’ve never played before but it seemed like an adventure,” said Kitchen.
Crawford Brings Expertise
GHS co-head Scott Crawford brings his expertise to the team as well, McArthur explained.
“Scott played all through high school and he comes down and helps us,” said McArthur. “He has a lot of knowledge about the skills and drills and really gets the girls into it.”
The GHS varsity girls hoops team won their first game after Sts. Peter and Paul forfeited on Wednesday, December 13. The girls were set to take on Ivanna Eudora Kean’s team on Monday, December 18, at IEK.
Although this is her first stint as basketball coach, McArthur has extensive coaching experience in cheerleading.
“I’ve coached cheerleading forever,” said McArthur. “We started a cheerleading team here in September and had our first competition in St. Thomas last month. The season ends in December, but we’ll start it up again next fall and we’re having a cheer camp this summer.”