The East Haven girls basketball team made history as they won the 2018 state championships and the team continues to dominate their current season.
State Championship On March 17, 2018, they played in their first state final in program history when they faced Career with the Class M title on the line at Mohegan Sun Arena. The Yellowjackets claimed the championship when sophomore, Isabella Ragaini, made a shot at the buzzer to give East Haven a “49-47 victory versus the Panthers in the Class M State Tournament final. The Easties trailed Career by eight points with 3:23 remaining in the game, before scoring 10 straight points to take a 47-45 lead with 52 seconds to play” (GameTime). The Yellowjackets celebrated a major victory that day, in the most dramatic of fashions. “Emotion overcame everyone & it’s a memory I will never forget. We made history that day & it feels great to know our team will always be remembered as state champions” says senior player, Makenzie Helms. The Yellowjackets will always remember their victory.
Future Goals In addition to winning a championship, the Yellowjackets still have major goals they would like to accomplish during this 2019 season, winning the state championships was just the beginning. “We’ve won our division 3 years in a row and are out for the 4th. Also winning the SCC tournament would be a huge accomplishment, we lost in the championship of it last year” says Makenzie Helms. The Yellow Jackets have high hopes and they become closer to accomplishing their future goals each day.
Coach Russell The girls gave a big shout out to their Coach, Coach Russell and stated how they wouldn't have accomplished so much if wasn't for him. Captain Alexis Pendziewater had a bit to say about Coach Russell, “Coach Russy is awesome. He yells a lot and some of us give him attitude, but he is trying to push us to be the best we can be. My favorite thing he says is ‘News Flash Ladies’ whenever he has something he wants to state. He has a heart and he tells us how he loves coming to practice to be with us. He is like a dad to all of us, he is always there for us when we need him and cheers each of us up.” The team is very grateful for Coach Russell and all he does for them, with pushing them to be the best they can be.
Lessons Learned At the end of the day basketball is more than just a sport to these girls and this is more than just a team, It's a family. Basketball taught them more than just, lay-ups, jump shots, etc. Basketball has taught them lessons that carry over into the other areas of life. “Basketball has definitely taught me how to work with people that I’m not always going to like. although it’s difficult, you’re always going to have to learn to collaborate with people who you’re not fans of. but it has also taught me that sticking through things is always worth it. this meaning like even if you want nothing more than to quit, there’s always reasons not to and you never know the relationships or memories you can make if you stay and make the best of everything” says Jamie Gallo.
The EHHS Yellowjackets are starting off the season right and will continue to make the best of the season, teamwork is a shared destiny.
All photos are credited to the EHVGB Twitter account.