Lady Pacers basketball wraps up the 2022-23 season


Marta Bourget

Sophomore Hailie Dowell shoots from the free-throw line during a Lady Pacers basketball practice.

Marta Bourget, Staff Writer

As February draws to a close and so does the basketball season, the Lady Pacers Basketball Team isn’t ending any old season. They faced tragedy and hardships, but they kept dribbling towards the hoop.

Team Players

The Lady Pacers Basketball Team had a significant underclassman influence this season.
“We had a couple people not come back that we thought were going to come back,” senior Samantha Toney said. “So it’s been a learning experience and a growing process with all of the younger people who’ve had to step up and take positions on the court.”
Although they had two strong seniors to lead the way, the summer held major injuries for both of them.
“Sam Toney and Porter Barickman are our two seniors. They also had a very unique senior year as well, in that they [both] had major reconstructive surgery in the spring of 2022,” head coach Erin Margraf said. “So both girls tore their ACLs in the spring and had to undergo surgery and intense therapy before they could return.”
Both girls made a recovery, with Toney coming back before the start of the season in October and Barickman returning a few weeks before the season’s end. The girls ended the season with a record of 5-16, but the scoreboard isn’t always a representation of everything earned throughout the season.
“Our record wasn’t that good but we improved our skills,” junior Maddie Kiss said. “It’s just hard with a younger team because they don’t know what it’s like to play against juniors and seniors that are way older than them with more experience.”

Coaching Conflict

Erin Margraf stepped up after previous girl’s basketball coach Tiberri stepped down.
“I took the head girls’ position last spring in the spring of 2022, and so I was the lead role through summer and then through workouts in the fall,” Margraf said. “On October 5, my nine-year-old daughter was diagnosed with lymphoma, and at that point, I had to take a leave of absence from school and from basketball.”
Even with family problems, Margraf still took care of her girls on the team.
“So, in meeting with my staff, we decided as a group that my three other coaches that were also on staff with me, would [absorb] all of the duties of the head coach as well,” Margraf said.
The girls adjusted accordingly.
“And it’s just been hard because we expected to have one thing this season, but it went a different direction because we couldn’t have that one coach,” Toney said.
The players said that even in her absence, Margraf made an impact.
“Even when [Margraf] wasn’t physically there, she still had a positive impact on the team,” Kiss said. “She pushed us to be our best in practice and out of practice.”
“Because even though I wasn’t here, they stayed and they kept working. And I just think that this team is going to be really special to me, I’m going to remember this group for forever,” Margraf said. “And they showed support in ways that just stuck out and in ways that a lot of high schoolers don’t typically need to show support for their head coach, and they did and so that’s going to resonate with me for a long time.”