DOMINANT! What else can be said about Prospect Hill Academy’s 2014-2015 middle school girls’ basketball team coached for the fourth season by their school’s seventh grade science teacher, Katie Harris?
Twelve teams, separated into a North and a South league with six teams each, started out even in the early Winter. The PHA Lady Wizards finished the regular season crusade undefeated at 10-0 and crowned Massachusetts Charter School Basketball League (MCSBL) Division I North Champions.
Led by eighth grade captains, Ashley Fortune and Aida Girma, the starting five was rounded out with fellow eighth graders–Ashley Cadet, N’Yshma Leroy and Kaleesha Joseph. Also, earning several starts during the season was another eighth grader, Sharmy Ertillen. All six were seasoned veterans, having played with Ms. Harris on the previous year’s middle school team. Other eighth graders on the roster were Samaya Belizaire Arrendel, Naoomi Raymond, Juliana Riviera, Ashley Vixama, Jasmine Thomas and Gwen Dorvil. Representing Prospect Hill’s seventh grade class were Janide Bernadin, Raheal Getahun and Kaylene Noel.
On the first weekend in March, the Lady Wizards traveled north to Lawrence to represent Prospect Hill in the annual Charter Cup Invitational Tournament hosted by Community Day Charter Public School in Lawrence at the Parthum School. In the tournament seeding round on Saturday, PHA went 2-0–downing Pioneer Academy 24-9 and MATCH 26-7, to gain the #1 seed for the eight-team single elimination championship round on Sunday.
Ms. Harris’ squad had lost in last year’s finals in the Charter Cup. This year’s team had vowed that this year’s outcome would be different. In the quarter-finals, Marblehead Charter was overwhelmed by PHA and outscored 24 to 4. Davis Leadership Academy fared no better in the semifinals, finishing the game on the short-end of a 26-6 score. The host team and last year’s champion Community Day, supported by an enthusiastic and noisy crowd, squared off against PHA in the finals. The Lady Wizards went down early 6-2, then led by dazzling play from tournament MVP Ashley Cadet, silenced the crowd and never allowed another point. The final score In the Championship game was Prospect Hill–39 and Community Day–6.
Two days prior to the start of the Charter Cup, PHA opened play on their homecourt as the top seed in the MCSBL playoff semifinals. PHA’s opponent at the Capuano School in Somerville was Davis Leadership Academy. PHA behind 20 points from center, Kaleesha Joseph, defeated Davis Leadership 44-21 and earned the right to host the MCSBL Championship Game. A week later at the Capuano School, the Lady Wizards, led by Ashley Cadet’s 18 points, outscored Community Day Charter 36-20 in the championship tilt.
The Prospect Hill Academy Lady Wizards thus ended the recently concluded Winter basketball campaign 17-0 and undefeated. DOMINANT!