Girls Basketball falls in playoffs

Third time was not the charm for the Girls Varsity Basketball team when facing the West Potomac Wolverines in the first round of districts on Feb. 19. The Atoms fell short of expectation, given their 2-0 regular season record against West Pot, losing 43-57, effectively ending their season.
The lead was constantly changing throughout the game, much like their previous matchup two days prior. The one point lead at the end of the first quarter quickly vanished as the Wolverines gained momentum going into halftime with a score of 29-24. Although the lead was cut to three in favor of West Pot at the end of the third, the momentum remained with the Wolverines for the remainder of the game.
Co-Captain Senior Katie Pacak, one of the top scorers of the game, sparked momentum throughout the match. Her 10 points, rebounding, and consistency at the free throw line heavily contributed to the successful moments in the Atoms offense.
“Tonight I felt we did a lot better job of being patient with the ball and passing it around to get more open looks and to get it inside more to our bigs,” Pacak said.
This was evident as well with 6’2″ junior post Katie Garrish, with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Up-and-coming freshman guard Jayla Irvin, who scored 11 points, ran the offense for the majority of the game.
“I feel like I did well and this was one of my best games,” Irvin said.
Although the momentum constantly shifted throughout the game, it was a rough shooting night overall for the Atoms. Their shooting inconsistency as well as the aggressive Wolverine defense contributed to multiple Atoms’ single-digit scoring quarters.
“On offense we didn’t finish off plays, we weren’t hitting shots, and some shots were rushed or forced,” Pacak said.
In comparison, West Pot was only held to one single-digit scoring quarter.
Foul trouble also heavily impacted the outcome as the team only attempted 12 free throws while their opponents attempted 29. In addition to the abundant trips to the line, four players had four fouls each by the middle of the fourth.
When Pacak, one of their star players, fouled out late in the fourth, it was clear that the mentality of the team had already declined to a point of no recovery.
“We lost it mentally when their lead got greater, although we have been in the same situation and came out too before,” Pacak said.
Second year AHS Girls’ Varsity basketball coach Jimmy Brown was disappointed with the outcome but content with the season overall.
“I’m satisfied with most of the effort but as a coach you’re never completely satisfied,” Brown said. “I wanted more for this group, more results not for me personally but because they put a lot into this and they played so many teams tough.”
As the offseason begins, Coach Brown expects each of his players to get ready for the next season well in advance.
“We’re going to start a little bit earlier with our preseason stuff,” Brown said. “We’re going to make sure we still play in the McNamara summer league and we’re going to make sure these girls know this feeling can never happen again.”