By Dan McWilliams
The St. Joseph School varsity girls basketball team recently completed a perfect season, going 26-0 and winning the Knoxville Independent School League regular-season and tournament championships, each for the second straight year.
The Lady Bulldogs defeated The King’s Academy Lady Lions 23-17 in the tourney championship game.
Claire Earl and Fannie Njoroge earned All-League selections for St. Joseph. Anna Hoang and Grace Morgan made All-Tournament, and Annalise Weedman earned tournament MVP.
The 26 wins are the most in school history. This past year marked only the second time the girls basketball team won back-to-back championships.
“Our girls were champions last year also, so we knew they’d have a strong team coming into the season,” said St. Joseph principal Andy Zengel. “But what’s beautiful to watch is the whole community gathering around your students. It’s a community-building event and a spirit-building event when they can achieve that goal of repeating their championship. Very proud of them.”
Seth Mofield, the girls team head coach, said he was equally proud of the squad, which reached its preseason goal of winning a title.
“That’s something we actually talked about at the beginning of the year when we had our Bible studies during the summer,” he said. “We set a goal for ourselves coming off of a championship that was kind of a random thing — we didn’t think we’d win it last year. We knew that we returned seven out of our nine players from last year and all five starters. So going into the season we set our goals high, and it would be either a championship or bust.
“We had no idea that we had the potential to win that many games without losing and win as well as we did. That was a goal we had set going into the season, and we got to achieve that, so it was great.”
The championship game against The King’s Academy got off to a scary start for St. Joseph.
“We beat them the first time 39-25 in the regular season. We had a girl who had a seizure in the first quarter of that [tourney championship] game, so it was a little stressful, a little hectic and emotional for the girls, but they battled really hard the entire game and had the lead going into the fourth quarter and were able to maintain that lead,” said Mr. Mofield.
The player had the seizure “in the first three minutes of the first quarter of the championship game,” the coach added. “Luckily she was on the bench when it happened. She had a seizure during the game. It was very emotional. She’s OK now.”
Mr. Mofield reiterated the “championship or bust” mentality of the team.
“We had no idea we had the possibility of going 26-0 and winning the regular season and tournament again,” he said. ■