DE PERE, Wis. (WFRV) – It’s been a season to remember for the West De Pere Girl’s Basketball program as they currently sit in first place of the Bay Conference with a 15-4 record overall on the season.
“They’re fun. We have fun every day. We’re loose. Sometimes we have to bring it in when we are loose, but I also think that’s a big part of being a high school athlete is having fun and enjoying the time you have together on the court,” said head coach Chris Abaray.
The Phantoms have dominated conference play this season with an 8-1 record, and while usually high school teams are led by senior leadership – this West De Pere team has three sophomore starters. The two other starters on the team are filled by seniors providing leadership on the court, and the pair know this can set the program up to add to their long-term success.
“I know when I was a freshman, I really wanted to get along with older players. As a senior – I know I have to be friends with them and make them feel comfortable, and they’re really good players. It’s a really good group,” said senior Katie Waukau.
As the season has progressed, Abaray has seen the group connect on the court more each game. No surprise – it’s led to more wins.
“It’s really fun to see our older girls and our younger girls at times have those moments where they show that cohesiveness. I think when we have more of that and those moments – we’re able to play at our best, and that’s kind of what we are hoping for here,” Abaray explained.
It’s hard to deny the impact Abaray has had on the program. Since taking over as head coach – Abaray has posted a 104-35 record with four conference titles in 5 full seasons. Getting to the state tournament is always the priority of every high school program, but it’s something the Phantoms haven’t been able to do since 1978. The seniors on this team feel like they could make history as they are looking to become the first group ever to win a state championship in school history.
“We think it’s possible. I’ve always dreamt of it. I’ve always wanted to go to state,” said Waukau.
“Last year, we were really close, but I think we could do it this year. I’m ready to keep going,” senior Victoria Karchinski said.