The members of Mahwah’s seventh grade girls black travel basketball team have got a really good momentum going.
For the first time ever, the team won its Christmas tournament, which was held this year in Oakland. The girls are coming off back-to-back wins this weekend that improved their record to 9-4. Moving toward the March playoff games, the seventh graders say they are in sync, and looking forward to wrapping up the season with a bang.
“They are all really great kids,” head coach TJ Downey said. “I’ve been coaching most of the girls on the team since they were in fourth grade, and it’s always been their heart and determination that sets them apart. They are all competitors and they all give 100 percent.”
The girls are also, “very athletic,” Downey said. Most play other sports in addition to basketball. “We don’t discourage them from playing other sports. They are young, and the most important thing here is to have fun.”
Though all of the players agree, they say winning the team’s first league championship ever would be a nice payoff for their hard work.
“Our goal every year is to win the championship,” Brenna Jaffe said. “This year, we have been practicing a lot, learning a lot more new plays, and we play well together. We are all friends so that helps.”
“We just try to play hard, and not get too crazy about whether or not we win or lose,” teammate Sara Grunblatt said.
The students a few weeks left of regular season games, and playoffs between the eight teams in their league begin the first week of March.
The girls say they do have a not-so-secret weapon that they hope will advance them through the playoff games.
“We are the tallest team in the league,” player Erin Jaffe said. “I don’t think the other teams should be excited to face us.”
"Who knows," teammate Emily Burns added. "This could be our year."
The members of the seventh grade travel team are Danielle Petrovic, Sara Grunblatt, Brenna Jaffe, Erin Jaffe, Olivia Sprofera, Morgan Morris, Emily Burns, Fiona McNulty, Kayla Devine and Tabitha Paul. They are coached by Downey and assistant coaches Steve Jaffe, Markus Paul, and Steven Grunblatt. To see when they are playing, check out the Mahwah Travel Basketball website.