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Team to Watch: Sullivan West Lady Bulldogs

Members of the Sullivan West varsity girls’ basketball team (aka Lady Bulldogs) are Anissa Bauernfeind, standing left, Danielle Brockner, Elaine Durkin, Bianca Burgos, Chyenne Gaebel, Heather Maxwell, Brianna Bryant, Emily Pisall, Paige Olsen, and Alexa Santoro. Squatting are Bridget Hart, left, and Sabrina Everett.
Contributed photos

By SULLIVAN WEST JOURNALISM CLASS
January 20, 2016

LAKE HUNTINGTON, NY — The Sullivan West varsity girls’ basketball team celebrated its sixth victory on the evening of Thursday, January 7, in a close game against Roscoe, with a score of 42-36. The win put the Lady Bulldogs’ record this season at 6-4 as of January 8.

This season’s success is particularly important to senior players Brianna Bryant (2), Bianca Burgos (34), Elaine Durkin (20), Chyenne Gaebel (24), Heather Maxwell (21), Paige Olsen (5) and Alexa Santoro (10). They are hoping to earn a spot at sectionals in their last season of high school basketball.

What is contributing to the team’s success this year? Players attribute it to their teamwork and long-lasting friendships. Gaebel says, “This year’s team cooperation is very good. We’ve all been playing with each other for years as well as [having] known each other, which definitely contributes to our great cooperation.” Burgos agrees. She says, “We’re all really good friends. We look out for each other on and off the court. It’s like one big family.”

Team players agree that Coach Patrick Donovan is a big part of this team’s drive to succeed. In his sixth season coaching the girls, Donovan continues to teach the players to grow not only as athletes, but also as people through his rigorous coaching style. “Mr. Donovan has always been a relatively strict coach. It pushes us to want to be better and do well. It also teaches us about the real world. Things such as not being late to something important—in our case, practice,” says Burgos.

This year, the district, as well as Coach Donovan, have noticed the team’s blossoming identity throughout the basketball community as fierce competitors. Could it be the large population of talented seniors participating this season, or possibly a change in style and ethics?

The past few games have highlighted some key players on the team. According to Donovan, Brianna Bryant is one of the strong assets contributing to their recent victories. In their Thursday night win against the Roscoe Lady Devils, Bryant scored 20 points for the Lady Bulldogs.