Veritas girls basketball shows progress in 1st year back on hardwood

photo by: Carter Gaskins

Veritas' Satchel Koch (23) grabs a rebound over Anna Johnson (5) and Hannah Motsinger (15) of Bishop Seabury Friday night at Haskell Indian Nations University on Jan. 17, 2020.

It took two years, but the Veritas girls basketball team finally returned to the floor for the 2019-20 campaign.

Because it was the first year for the program since the 2016-17 season, though, the Eagles didn’t measure their success by their number of wins. Even though Veritas went 0-18, there were plenty of reasons for the team to be proud of what it accomplished both on and off the court this past season.

“Our goal before the season was to finish a season because we hadn’t had a team for two full seasons,” head coach Lori Alvarado said. “Our goal was to play hard every game, and our goal was to improve individually and as a team. I wanted to keep the goals focused on making progress because I knew it would be a tough year.”

Sure, Veritas would have liked to net at least one win during its 18-game season. But players never lost hope, and actually found reasons for optimism by the end of the year.

Veritas played hard until the end of the season, showing plenty of fight even when the score might have been lopsided. Plenty of players learned the fundamentals of the sport, while a bulk of the squad was made up of freshman contributors.

“Our ladies played hard every single game, even when they were down a whole bunch of points,” Alvarado said. “We asked them to play hard until the end, and they did that. Every single one of our players got better and were more confident in their skills as they got better.”

In fact, the Eagles illustrated some of their growth in their second meeting with Bishop Seabury on Feb. 8.

In the first meeting, Veritas didn’t score at all in the opening period and struggled taking care of the basketball. During the rematch at BSA, though, Veritas traded punches early on with its crosstown foe.

“For about a four-minute or five-minute period of time, our girls kept the ball on our end of the court,” Alvarado said. “We were stealing the ball as soon as Seabury got it down. We were playing really tough defense.”

When Veritas did play well, it was often because of its promising freshmen class.

Freshman point guard Lydia Alvarado led the team in scoring with an average of 4.4 points per game, while pacing the squad in total steals with 43. She also had a team-high 16 assists and was second in rebounding with 46.

Satchel Koch, a freshman center, led the Eagles in rebounding with a total of 66 boards. She also had 16 steals and five blocked shots. Corissa Bandel was a really good ball handler, and showcased the ability to get through a defense.

Zoey Hansen served as the team’s primary defender due to her tough mentality. Megan Malm and Hannah Borger also made strides as upperclassmen for VHS.

“What I saw from them is the idea that they can really play basketball,” Lori Alvarado said. “There really is a chance for us, as we build in the years to come, to really have a team that can be competitive. I think they started to believe that towards the end of the season.”

All of that is why Alvarado challenged her players to put in even more work this offseason.

While the threat of coronavirus might end up impacting summer workouts, Alvarado encouraged her players to spend time practicing fundamentals at home. Players can still individually work on ball-handling and shooting, while team activities might be restricted.

Regardless of what happens this summer, Alvarado knows her team is on the right track to having more success on the hardwood.

“While we didn’t have a win, I do believe we have a nice, solid foundation to build on,” Alvarado said. “We have a lot of raw talent. If we can get it focused through skill development and discipline, I think in a year (or) two years, our team is going to be pretty tough.”


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