Freshmen students start on varsity girls basketball

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Over the past few years, there has not been many freshmen girls who have started on varsity. Sarah Shamdeen and Jayla Irvin start on the girls varsity basketball team as freshmens.

From a young age, Shamdeen had always been interested in basketball, although she didn’t take it seriously until the age seven. Jayla on the other hand, tried different sports like soccer before she realized that basketball was her passion and started playing at age 9.

“I loved  playing with my brother for fun but when I started watching his basketball games that’s what made me take basketball more seriously,”  Shamdeen said.

When Irvin decided to play basketball for fun, she didn’t realize that it would impact her life so much. “I went into basketball not knowing anything about it, then I started playing and it turned out to be so fun,” Irvin said.

Both, Irvin and Shamdeen have showed varsity basketball coach, Jimmy Brown, that they have what it takes to play on varsity.

“I think Sarah has the opportunity to play a lot of minutes, shoot the 3 and beat the pressure, she will help all around,” Brown said. Coach Brown also has high expectations for Jayla as well. “Jayla will be a special player, she will play a big role this year, we are asking a lot out her from handling the ball to guarding the other team’s best player,” Brown said.

Coach Brown is looking forward to coaching Shamdeen and Irvin, watching them grow in skill and as people for the next four years.

“Sarah studies the game and wants to play in college, she is a gym rat (in a good way), and she will continue to get better each and every day,” Brown said.

Not only are they great individual players, they are also great team players as well. “I think they were a great addition to the team and we all get along well,” team captain Kiara Patino said.

Although most of Shamdeen’s and Irvin’s teammates are older than they are, they still have great chemistry with them. “Some of my teammates are much bigger than me but other than that it doesn’t feel like we’re different, we are a team,” Shamdeen said. Jayla also enjoys playing with older teammates, she is learning a lot from playing at such a high level. It’s fun playing with seniors they have the best advice on anything” Irvin said.

Sarah has many strengths and qualities as a player that make her great at playing the game. “She is a fantastic three point shooter,” Brown said.

Jayla also has many skills that will make her successful in playing the game. “Jayla can handle it, she is athletic and is getting better at shooting,” Brown said.

Although they both are already excellent players at such a young age, they do have some setbacks. “Sarah is really hard on herself, she needs to relax, but she will learn to move to the next play,” Brown said.

Sarah and Irvin are excited to continue playing in the season because they will be playing at a high level of basketball. “The team I am most excited to play is South county because an old friend from elementary school plays for that team,” Shamdeen said. Jayla also has a team that she can’t wait to play. “I want to play TC williams because my half sister plays for them”, Irvin said.

Sarah and her team have many traditions to get them ready to play a game. “We all hang out before games usually which gets us excited,” Patino said.

Sarah also mentioned that the team also enjoys listening to a team mixtape while they warm up to get them hyped before a game. Aside from the team, Sarah also has a tradition herself. “I like to take a nap before my games to get me energized,” Shamdeen said.

Shamdeen and Irvin are excited for the season and are looking forward to creating many memories with their fellow teammates.

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