A Team Becomes Family

Fillies describe how stronger experience and closer bonds lead to successes

By Katie Bauer, Staff Writer

Many girls playing for the Fillies basketball team have a good amount of experience. The seniors on the team have been starting varsity since their sophomore year. This has given the classes under them the opportunity to do the same, or move up and play junior varsity as freshmen.

As of this year, that isn’t quite the case. Due to the experience that’s been gained the past two years, the team is building its talent level, freshman through varsity.
Sophomores Sydney Wade and Toni Macha have been playing varsity since their freshman year. Wade is the starting point guard and Macha a power forward you don’t see out of the game often.

“I have definitely learned a lot from the experience,” Macha said. “I have loved getting to know all the girls. They are all so supportive and motivational.”
She also had a bit of advice for upcoming Fillies: “Don’t let anybody tell you what you are and are not capable of.”

The newest addition to the JV team is Colbi Riley, a freshman. Similarly to Wade and Macha, Riley is the only one of the eight new freshmen to play up for junior varsity. “It was kind of scary in the beginning, but once we got going,it wasn’t bad,” she said. “It makes me feel good about my basketball skills, and the coaching is great.”

Many of the girls who play junior varsity are returners from the 2013-2014 season. JV coach Mark Percy described the type of team that he has the opportunity to guide.

“They’ve done a good job this year, and have given a lot of effort, always working hard,” he said. “It’s really fun to coach these girls.”
Percy also spoke about leaders on the team: “Everyone does a good job as far as leading. Those that stand out, that also played last year are Taylor Sell, Taelyn Sutterby, McKayli Cleaver and Olivia Bannister.”

Sophomore Brooklyn Storrer had input to add as well.

“We always get along and work well together,” said Storrer, who went on to talk about the bonds that basketball has created for her. “It has basically given me a second family.”

If you ask players on the junior varsity team whom they look up to, many of them will say McKayli Cleaver.
Riley Murry described why she and her teammates feel this way. “She is always in high spirits and tries her hardest,” she said. “She helps anybody when they need it.”

When approached about being seen as a role model, Cleaver was humble and spoke about the upperclassman she’s looked up to herself. “They all bring good things to the team,” she said. “I really try to push myself and help others, but being part of a great team helps.”

Recent Results
This January, the Fillies began to get in the swing of things. They began their debut back from winter break Jan. 6 with a home game against Anderson County. The varsity finished the day with a 41-33 win. The junior varsity ended with a nail-biter, going into double overtime. However, the game ended in disappointment when the girls lost 38-36. The freshmen also lost by a close call, 29-26.

Iola had their homecoming Jan. 16 against the Wellsville Eagles. The Fillies kept the majority of the varsity game close. They pulled out a 14-0 lead in the fourth quarter to win 49-37.

The next week, the varsity headed out to compete at the Burlington Invitational starting. Iola played Labette County first, losing 41-36. On the weekend, the Fillies lost to Burlington, 58-45, on Jan. 23, but then took seventh place with a 69-26 win over Santa Fe Trail.

The team was back at home on Jan. 30, when the girls lost a hard-fought contest with Chanute 35-30. On Feb. 3 came up short again at Santa Fe Trail , 64-61.