Weedsport Girls Varsity Basketball has worked their way to being seeded #1 in Section lll this season. Junior Emma Stark broke the school record of most three-pointers made in a single game (9), and Suzie Nemec broke a record of the most points made in a single game (43). The team’s head coach Chris Vargason just celebrated his 200th win of his coaching career against LaFayette High School on January 17th, but they aren’t ready to stop there.
“I think, as a team, we can go really far this season,” says Stark. “Even if one of us doesn’t play all that well, we know that as a unit, we can play much better together.”
“We obviously are looking for a championship, but we have to take one game at a time,” says Nemec. “If we believe in ourselves then we can truly achieve the most.”
The Johnny Green took some time recently to sit down with Coach Vargason and discuss how the season is going so far. He started the conversation by stating, “We are playing very good team basketball without placing a lot of pressure on ourselves, we are working hard and having fun!”
Q. What kind of things do you think your team does effectively?
A. “We play great man to man team defense, we like to push the ball up the floor and we score a lot of points in transition off turnovers.”
Q. In what ways do you think Suzie and Emma have grown as players?
A. “I think Suzie and Emma are providing positive leadership for our basketball program. I am so happy for all players, JV and Varsity when they reach a goal on the court. However, I am just as happy when they reach goals in the classroom or other outside community achievements or activities.”
Not only does Stark perform well on the court but also in the classroom. Stark’s class average is 92. “I do a lot of my school work in school rather than at home so I can rest rather than stressing over it the night before it’s due.”
Stark’s hard work paid off in a recent game where the Weedsport girls were home against Cato-Meridian. As spectators, teammates, and Stark’s parents all watched nervously, she squared her shoulders to the rim. With her feet behind the three-point line, she shot the ball. “Before the game I thought that I wasn’t really going to have a good game,” Stark explains. “I knew that we all would play well but I didn’t really expect to go out and break a record. I was kind of nervous honestly.” At halftime, Stark was just three away from breaking the record. “I felt like I wasn’t going to actually make the 9 three’s before the game was over.” Stark’s hard work led to her being selected for athlete of the month for Weedsport’s Girls Basketball team.
But she is not the only one of the team that is showing hard work and great improvement. Nemec has had an incredible season so far, highlighted by the record 43 point night against Little Falls. “Before every game, I tell myself that people are watching you and no matter what, everyone will be proud of you,” Nemec said. “I tell myself that I need to make a statement and I did that.” That Saturday the girls’ team drove 2 hours out to Little Falls to face the Mounties. Nemec prepares herself for the game, “I always pray for a healthy game. Having to drive almost 2 hours to get there was a little tiring but that didn’t affect me or the team.”
Nemec was asked what things help her get to her success today. “Well, I played against girls who are a lot bigger than me and faster but that has made me want to be like them. I started out playing AAU in 4th grade and then when I moved to Weedsport in 6th. Where I started playing with some girls that went here. That developed us as teammates a lot. I have traveled to so many different states to get the exposure I’m looking for, and so far it has just grown my skills and leadership so much.”
Nemec was selected as athlete of the week for CNY Central, and also by News Channel 9. Nemec explains that breaking a record is not a stopping point for her but a leading point to even bigger things. “I was very excited to hear that I had 43 points and it feels great to know that I’m getting recognized for things I do, but I know that that was just one game and now I have to look ahead and see what I can do to make this team better and how I can contribute more.”
In the game Nemec had 20 points in the fourth quarter alone. When Nemec was asked how far she thinks this season will go she responded, “I believe we have something special this year. We’re young and we have already clicked. No other years have been like this and it’s just so much fun to be around these players, coaches, and staff. We obviously are looking for a championship but we have to take one game at a time. If we believe in ourselves then we can truly achieve the most.”
“This team has been pushing each other in practice every day to get better,” said Vargason. “We will continue to take one game at a time, support and encourage teammates to do their best to benefit the overall success of our team.”
The girls’ next game is home vs Port Byron on Thursday. Get out and support the team!