By: Emma Krupp
The Caldwell Girls Basketball program concluded their regular winter season this week against the visiting Lakeland Lancers. The Lancers arrived in Caldwell with an impressive 19-4 record, rivaling the Chief’s 12-11 season. Although an intense game, the Lancers came on top with a 49-29 win. Standout players for the Chiefs included Taylor Stafford and Ashleigh Bryant. Stafford, a senior, scored twelve points for the Chiefs and led the team with three steals. To put the Chiefs on the board, Bryant, a junior, scored the first eight points of the game. Defensively, Maggie Betros, also a junior, and Brielle Guarente, a freshman, each had four rebounds for the Chiefs. The girls held out a strong fight against a highly ranked team and gave it their all on Thursday night.
Despite their loss, the Girls Varsity team still had an inspiring evening as they celebrated Taylor Stafford on her senior night. Stafford, who played for the Chiefs all four years at James Caldwell, was the solo senior of the program this year. She handled the challenge with great poise; acting as both a captain and role model for the very young team. On Thursday, Stafford’s teammates surprised her by buying huge balloons which spelled out her name across the top bleachers and celebrating after the game with a dinner.
Stafford will be missed tremendously by the Caldwell program, as proven by her teammates, who I got the chance to talk to after the game. Junior, Maggie Betros, applauded Stafford and the season as a whole by commenting, “Taylor did an amazing job being captain and although it was hard playing with such a young team, by the end we really came together to succeed.” Brielle Guarente, a freshman and starting varsity player next to Stafford stated, “Being a ‘frosh’ Taylor always made me feel better when I was at my lowest and when I thought I was disappointing the team. She was always there to pick me up and take me places which made me feel a part of the team.” However, Stafford’s contribution to the basketball program cannot be better summed up by Katherine Theobald, a sophomore, who is a close friend of Stafford. Theobald was quick to praise Stafford, telling me, “Taylor was a great captain because she doesn’t play for herself, she plays for the team. No matter what the score was this season, Taylor never put herself or the rest of the team down and held a positive attitude till the buzzer. She is always the one to cheer us up on and off the court. Taylor isn’t just a teammate or captain to me, she has become one of my closest friends. I know I can always count on her to be there and we will continue to stay friends even after the season ends.”