Photos by Correen Demers Photography.com
By Katie Harris
The Prospect Hill Academy Lady Wizards with a final record of 17-1 finished the high school girls’ basketball season last year as the Massachusetts Charter School Athletic Organization (MCSAO) North Division Champion and as the MCSAO State Tournament Champion. Additionally, their head coach, Brian Harris, was selected as the North Division Coach of the Year by his fellow coaches. PHA junior power forward, Kaleesha Joseph, received North Division Most Outstanding Player of the Year honors. Her teammates, junior point guard Ashley Cadet and junior center Samaya Belizaire-Arrendel, were named North Division All-Stars.
Prior to the start of the 2018-2019 basketball season, in the middle of this year’s fall volleyball season, Samaya Belizaire-Arrendel collapsed at school. Later that day she tragically died in the hospital without ever regaining consciousness. The entire school community, and far beyond, greatly mourned her passing. Once the 2018-2019 basketball squad was selected (a team that includes Samaya’s freshman sister, Olivya), Samaya’s classmates (fellow seniors—Cadet, Joseph, N’yeshma Leroy and Ashley Fortune) compelled their younger teammates to dedicate the current season to their beloved deceased teammate. The regular season ended last week. The Lady Wizards finished with an undefeated record of 17-0 and are again the MCSAO North Division Champion. Furthermore, they will enter this year’s MCSAO State Tournament as the top seeded of eleven teams.
Thus far, PHA has offensively averaged 58 points per game and has defensively held opponents to 25 points per game. Returning stars, now seniors, Kaleesha Joseph (16.1 points per game) and Ashley Cadet (16.7 ppg) and emerging star, eighth grade sharpshooter Mia Mitchell (12.9 ppg) are among the MCSAO scoring leaders this year. Additionally, Joseph in mid-December became the first female player at Prospect Hill to score 1000 points on the varsity team. Cadet joined her teammate in the PHA’s 1000 point club earlier this month.
The Lady Wizards will start state tournament play in the quarter-finals with a home game at the St. Clement Parish Gym, Somerville/Medford, against the winner of a game between MCSAO’s 8th and 9th seeded teams during the early part of the week of February 25. The winner of that game will play in the state tournament semi-finals on Friday, March 1. The finals are scheduled for Friday, March 8. Both the semi-finals and finals are scheduled to be held at the Clark Center on the campus of the University of Massachusetts at Boston at Harbor Point in Dorchester.