Girls basketball enters state playoffs after challenging but memorable season


Mara Mellits

Lane’s Caroline Meyers during player introductions on Dec. 7 versus the Payton Grizzlies.

By Megan Camacho, Sports Editor

All season, Lane’s Girls Basketball seniors have epitomized what Head Coach Megan Molloy dubs “quiet leadership” on the court. By leading through action and not necessarily through voice, the senior players have shown a great deal of dedication, which has made the season fun for everybody.

“They have welcomed the juniors and they have made the team all work together,” Molloy said. “I think they have truly shown what it means to be leaders and I hope the juniors recognized their leadership skills.”

Now, after breaking through an era of COVID and finally playing in a normal atmosphere this year, the Girls Basketball team’s season is finally nearing an end. But first, the seniors will have one last chance to make their mark with state playoffs just a day away.

Lane enters the state playoffs with a tough road ahead, drawing a 12 seed and a date with 6-seed York in the regional semifinals. This comes after an up-and-down regular season and a second round city playoff exit. 

Despite a lower ranking and a brief disruption of the season in early January due to the CPS-CTU reopening conflict, the team has had a rewarding season packed with memorable matchups. For point guard Lauren Collins, her growth with the team is a concise way to sum up her season.

“My season has been competitive yet rewarding, building our team chemistry within each game,” Collins said.And for Molloy, it’s all about gratitude.

“I’m extremely grateful that I’ve had the privilege of coaching this team,” she said.

One way gratitude for the seniors exists is through Senior Night games, something all athletes anticipate. Lane’s senior night matchup against Northside didn’t end the way the team wanted it to, but it was memorable ― especially for Collins.

“My senior night game was definitely the one of the most fun games to play due to the large crowd,” she said. “It’s really encouraging to play in front of a bigger audience, and it contributed to making all of our seniors feel special.”

The team has persisted through notable matchups, from a rivalry win against Taft High School to a clash against Jones, who finished at second in conference. After what was an incredibly tough loss against the Eagles last year, Lane carried their motivation onto home court this year and put in their all. They walked back to the locker room victorious, 50-44.

Following a losing streak, success found the team in the first round of city playoffs against the South Shore International Lady Tars. The energy during said matchup manifested in a season-high score for Lane, the team coming away victorious at 74-19 — a stunning feat. Lane hoped to find success in the second round against an infamously tough opponent, Simeon. Although Lane put up a good fight, tying the Wolverines in the first quarter, Lane’s chances at a longer city run would be blown out of the water, losing 52-27. 

The team’s hopes for a city playoff run may have been dashed, but as Molloy notes, Lane’s defeat will just serve as further motivation for next year.

“We played a competitive first half with Simeon and we just have to build on that for next year,” she said.

The team closes out city playoffs with not only room for improvement ahead of state but rewarding experiences. For Collins, she walks away with an extremely valuable lesson learned: leadership.

“The program has helped shape my confidence and ability to present myself as a leader on and off the court,” Collins said. “Spending time with the team has brought me great friendships and helped me become a better team player.” 

Lane’s seniors leave behind a promising legacy ― a confident group of juniors and a successful sophomore team are left to fill their shoes. And this will bolster the team into goals and milestones Molloy hopes the team will be able to achieve next year.

“Goals for next year would be to finish second in our conference, make it to the elite eight for city playoffs and earn an eight seed in our sectionals,” she said. “I think if we dedicate ourselves to basketball this summer all of those goals are very realistic.”

Lane will open the state playoffs against regional host York on their home court tomorrow, with a 7:30 p.m. tip set for the regional semifinal matchup.