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BHS says farewell to senior basketball girls

By Tressa Bragwell

For the FCT

Coaches change, teams graduate players and yet basketball remains the same.

As for Belgreen High School seniors Allyson Bragwell, Emma Riley, Hannah Taylor and Alanis Welch, they played under four different coaches in five years. However, for these dedicated athletes, the thing that has been consistent and motivating their entire varsity careers is their love for the game. Their senior season was – if you were to ask each of them – steps in the right direction.

Reaching the regional tournament, held annually at Wallace State Community College, has been a goal for these players from day one. The year 2009 was the last season a girls’ team from Belgreen has achieved that goal. This team accomplished it, even though the result was less than favorable, with a 51-23 loss to R.A. Hubbard.

Having a new coach brings about a certain amount of uncertainty, however, senior Emma Riley said it was not difficult at all to accept Coach Chad Green and his methods. “Coach Green gave me something that I have not always felt over the past six years – hope,” Riley said. “His style of basketball is different from the other four coaches I have had … He had more faith in us in the beginning that we had in ourselves, and I will forever be grateful for that.”

The sentiment of “team” is prevalent for this year’s squad. Riley said, “This team is the best. All the girls are more like my sisters than anything.”

Allyson Bragwell, being a member of the varsity team since eighth grade, said, “Playing for Coach Green was a fun experience, and playing in our last game was the saddest thing ever. I love Belgreen and the community more than anything in the world.”

Reaching the end of the season is a different experience for different players. For senior Hannah Taylor, the loss to R.A. Hubbard, ending the season, produced a feeling she did not anticipate. “I didn’t realize just how much I would miss this until my team came together to say goodbye. I went to change out of my uniform and realized I would never put it back on,” she said.

“We had a great season,” added senior Alanis Welch.  “Coach Green was a great coach … He helped us all improve, not only individually but as a team. It’s sad that it was my last year, and I wish I could go back and do it again.”

Each coach will say that improving from the beginning to the end of the season, from game to game and year to year, is absolutely the key to success. Having a foundation to build on from season to season is inspiring and motivating. Green said he knows the process is just that – a process. “The season started off slow, but as it progressed, we developed, and our team improved,” he said. “By the end of the year, we shot the ball better, our defense improved and we were boxing out better than we had been early on.” Green said he anticipates a bright future in basketball for the Belgreen Bulldogs.