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Last season, the Antonian lady basketball team made a run to the state championships before falling 68-57 to John Paul II. Coming up just short left a bad taste in their mouth and now as district kicks off in the 2022-2023 season, the Lady Apaches sit at 20-7 and have their sights set on getting back to, and winning, the championship.
"We definitely had to make some adjustments this season," said senior shooting guard Madison Olguin. " We lost two of our top scores from last season and so this year we kind of had to figure out what our team was."
With the adjustments so far this season have come the emergence of two freshman that have had huge starts to their career in Shaniyah Fox and Arianna Davis. Fox is averaging 11.2 points and 5.6 rebounds per game while Davis is averaging 10.4 points and 3.9 rebounds per game.
"I think the freshman have done a great job stepping up to play varsity like basketball," said junior guard Ella Nietz. "Coming from middle school and having to adjust to the speed of the game and everything that comes with it, it's hard, a big transition for them and I think they've been doing a great job."
Team Captain Grace Brunton agrees that getting the freshman involved early could pay off as the season progresses.
"These games are really good experience for the freshman as well," said Brunton. "Especially because I do think that with the talent they have they can go far as well as them getting this experience. It is going to be really good for them if they do."
One of the key components to the Lady Apaches coming together and working so well to this point in the season have been certain players stepping up to be the leaders for this 2022-2023 squad.
"For me it's been about being able to be a leader and to be vocal and to talk to all of them," said Brunton. "We've just had a lot of good teamwork in my opinion, and I think that we've all, even though we're all pretty much different grade levels, it's really easy to get along."
The teamwork was on full display on Thursday as the Lady Apaches walked away with a 63-37 win over Incarnate Word. Davis led the way for the Lady Apaches with 16 points while Olguin had 13 points in the contest.
"I think as long as we stay together and we work as a team I think we definitely have a chance," Nietz said. "Just staying together is our biggest thing. Working together and playing hard, just playing our best game and relying on each other to pick each other up when down. And You know, just bringing energy."
Teamwork will be the key in their run through district into playoffs. Even with a 2-0 start to district play, Olguin knows that this years run through district will not be a cake walk.
"It's gonna be a lot harder than last year," said Olguin. "We're very well prepared. And, like, Ella (Nietz) and Grace (Brunton) have said, as long as we stay together and work as a team. I don't see us having issues."
The Lady Apaches will continue their quest to get back to the state championship with a home game against district opponent St. Pius X Friday January 13th at 7PM