The Pilgrim girls basketball team completed its championship run last week when it beat Narragansett 35-19 in the Division III Championship at Rhode Island College. It was Pilgrim’s first girls …
The Pilgrim girls basketball team completed its championship run last week when it beat Narragansett 35-19 in the Division III Championship at Rhode Island College. It was Pilgrim’s first girls championship since the 1995-96 season.
Pilgrim boasted the best defense in the division this winter and it put on its best performance on the biggest stage. The Pats shut the Mariners down from start to finish and held them to just nine points in the first half.
Although Narragansett’s defense also showed up ready to play, Pilgrim would get timely scoring in the second half to run away with the win.
“It feels good. We were confident going into this, still a little nervous, but we wanted this all season. It’s so special, we have been through a season where we didn’t win a single game, so we’re beyond grateful for this team and the chance that we got,” said Pilgrim senior guard Faith Meade, who led the Pats with a game-high 11 points scored.
“We just had to give it our all. It was a tough game, but to come out on top feels so good. I’m a senior, I’ve played in many games but we have never really gotten close to this. Now that we got here and we’ve done it, it’s literally unreal,” said fellow senior Gianna Ramos, who scored six points and led the way in the paint. “It’s been a couple of years since we got to the championship. This year’s group, we had chemistry. I think it’s that chemistry that really helped us.”
Amaya Coffie continued to be one of the division’s top defensive players and racked up eight steals in the win while hitting a big 3-pointer to close out the first half. Pilgrim’s underclassmen also stepped up, as Kiera Maher hit a 3-pointer in the second half to put the game out of reach for the Mariners, and Ariana Keebler added five points.
Division III was a dogfight all winter long, and although the Pats finished the regular season in first place, they did take their lumps along the way. After jumping out to a 7-0 record to start the year, they would stumble and lose five of seven. However, they would heat up and win their final four regular season contests and then three straight in the postseason.
“I always believed in this team and would tell them, ‘You just have to play to your potential.’ When we had those bumps in the road, we just had to work hard, get better and move on. It being my first year, I beat myself up. But I told them that they were capable when they played together. When they play together, this is what happens,” said first year Pilgrim coach Kaitlyn Rachiele.
The Pilgrim senior core had endured many ups and downs throughout their careers, including the pandemic and playing through a winless season just two years ago. Rachiele was thrilled for the veterans, especially Ramos and Meade, for being able to walk away on top.
“Those were the two that I wanted to run to first because they give it their all, all the time. I’m very happy for them because they’ve been through it all. They went from winning no games to winning it all. I’m very, very happy for them,” said Rachiele.
Meade will remember this team for being a tight-knit group as she gets ready to walk away a champion.
“I’m going to remember how close this team was. I am so grateful for the bonds and friendships I made here,” said Meade. “Going into the season, I didn’t think that we would make it here, but as the season went on, I felt confident that we would make it.”
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here