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It’s full-court impress for EDSS junior girls’ basketball squad

Both the EDSS junior girls’ basketball team and their counterparts from Cameron Heights went into an Oct. 24 game with records of 9-0, with the Lancers ultimately losing for the first time this year by a score of 47-38. The team bounced right back Tuesday with a 41-29 win over Jacob Hespeler Secondary School. [Veronica Reiner / The Observer]

Not known as home to powerhouse squads on the basketball court, EDSS may just be primed to change that situation thanks to the remarkable success of the junior girls’ team, which has posted a near-perfect record so far.

Since the start of their season in mid-September, the Grade 9 and 10 Lancers have achieved win after win on route to a 11-1 record that puts them in second place (tied with Huron Heights High School) out of 16 teams in the overall standings.

The most recent win came Tuesday afternoon, a 41-29 decision over Jacob Hespeler Secondary School.

Given that many of them are early in their high school careers, it’s a safe bet things will only improve over the upcoming years.

“This season speaks for itself in terms of numbers and whatnot, but overall the girls have worked very hard,” said coach and EDSS teacher Jesse Buchenauer. “They’ve come together in a great way to support one another in different ways both on and off the court.”

Some highlight games for the team include 59-7 against Forest Heights Collegiate Institute on September 24, where Macy Weber achieved 16 points and Faith Neuman scored 10. Other teams they have won against include Preston High School 56-13, Grand River Collegiate Institute 41-20, and Bluevale Collegiate Institute 38-15.

On October 1, EDSS won 53-17 against Glenview Park Secondary School, with Weber once again taking the top scorer spot at 20, and Caela McLennan netting six.

The nearly 6-foot-tall Weber is the team most valuable player, who brings outside experience playing for a London-based basketball team.

“Caela and I have been playing with each other since we started basketball. We started together continued playing on the same team, and we have really good chemistry,” said Weber.

The pair had success dating back to elementary school days; Weber and McLennan played together on the Conestoga Colts girls basketball team back at Conestogo PS. The Colts achieved a perfect record in championship play, back in March, and went undefeated for four years.

“She and Macy feed off each other very well – [Caela] might not show up on the scoreboard as much as some people would think your next best player would, but she sets the tone right from the get-go as soon as she gets the ball,” said Buchenauer.

The sport is a huge commitment in most of the players lives: Weber plays an upwards of 12 hours a week, while her teammate, Megan Hume, plays 10. Overall, the team is made up of six Grade 9 students and five Grade 10s.

In addition to the physical benefits of exercise, team members have bonded more deeply through the experience.

“Basketball has really tied us together. Before, I didn’t really know many of the girls but now we’re all pretty tight I would say,” said Weber.

Their sole loss of the season came at the hands of Cameron Heights Collegiate Institute, who narrowly edged out EDSS 47-38 in a nail-biter last week in the EDSS gym. It was expected to be a challenging match beforehand, as the two schools shared undefeated records of 9-0 going into it.

“They have a couple of really good all-star players on their team who are much better than other players we have seen so far. So it’ll be a tough match for us,” said Buchenauer, just before the game.

The team will look to improve their strategy until the next matchup against CHCI. In the meantime, the EDSS junior girls expect to carry on the success for years as the move up to the senior ranks over time.

“They definitely make coaching much easier than it should be for sure, because of their talent and their ability to work together and communicate,” said Buchenaeur. “As with any team, there are always little things you have to work on – practice and get better at.

“Definitely a promising future for these young ladies,  hopefully they stick with it and see success for the next couple years with their high school careers.”

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