The winter of 2021-2022 marks the first normal season back for the Wantagh Warriors Girls Varsity Basketball. This far, we have faced adversities such as one senior, two injured starters, and, of course, playing with masks, but we have risen to the occasion with a 7-2 lead and 2 more games to go.
Coach Bujacich, known to all as “Coach B,” had been a gym teacher for Wantagh School District for 38 years. He decided to retire two years ago, but his dedication to this town stays true as he continues to coach girl’s varsity basketball for the 28th season. When asked how this year differs due to his retirement he says, “It’s totally different. My morning routine changed from when I was still teaching. I can now fully focus my attention on coaching. In practice and game preparation, I definitely have a lot more energy. But, at the same time I miss the students in class settings along with working with my colleagues and interacting with a great faculty.” His commitment and enthusiasm for the sport is clearly shown and has had a huge impact on the team’s overall attitude and drive to win.
Madison Taylor, a three sport athlete and our senior captain, has been on this team since freshman year and is committed to play lacrosse for Northwestern in the fall. She is a dominant force on the court, leading us to wins that have advanced us to playoffs. Her high spirited attitude during practice and confidence in the team as a whole shows how seriously she takes her role as the only senior. She says, “Being the only senior, I tried to lead by example with being on time and working hard at practice. I was always able to look up to multiple seniors when I was an underclassmen, so I knew it was so important to try to do everything I could to help the younger players on and off the court to continue the winning tradition Coach B has created with our Wantagh Girls Basketball program.”
Next year, there will be a total of eight seniors, a significant change. Although this season was unlike others before, Maddy made sure that our diligence went hand in hand with having fun.
Ava Kornbluth, our junior captain, has been on this team since ninth grade as well. She started this season just like any other, but during our third game her knee suddenly gave out and she later found out that both her ACL and meniscus had been torn, permanently preventing her from playing until next season. During the same game another junior starter, Julia Allen, badly sprained her ankle. It was an unfortunate turn of events in just two minutes that the team encountered, but that didn’t stop us from moving forward with them cheering us on from the side.
Ava recalls by saying, “Going down with a torn ACL and meniscus so early in the season was devastating, however, the team has been by my side every step of the way. My main focus has been getting back to normal as I look forward to returning to the court my senior year.”
When asked about her thoughts on the current season she says, “Watching the team develop since the beginning of the season has been special. Each and every member has contributed to the overall success of the team which has enabled us to win against tough opponents. Being that we are a rather young team yet with limitless potential, I am excited to see what the future has in store.”
With playoffs approaching, we’re working harder than ever, with long hours and after practice film. We know this commitment will pay off, despite whatever outcome it may be.
These curve balls thrown at us were tough, but it was nothing we as a team couldn’t handle.