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Dublin High School Lady Gaels Varsity Basketball Team Reflects on a Historic Season

April 13, 2015
Dublin High School Lady Gaels Basketball NorCal Pregame 2

Dublin High School Lady Gaels Basketball

Spring sports are presently in full flight at Dublin High School. Some of these endeavors include baseball, softball, tennis, swimming, track and lacrosse. But, before we turn the page on fall sports, we wanted to recognize a DHS team that just completed an epic season – and of historic proportions.

In early February, OneDublin.org posted a story featuring the successful season that the Lady Gaels basketball team was enjoying. When published, their record was 20 wins versus only two losses. At this point, the team was beginning to approach the end of their regular season. However, what loomed on the horizon was an opportunity to compete in the North Coast Section (NCS) tournament. Would this team, that started its season just before Thanksgiving, allow itself to dream even bigger than before? Might an opportunity to compete in the CA state tournament even be possible? The team and their supporters were about to find out.

In the NCS Championships, teams are seeded into different brackets based largely upon the size of school enrollment. While one of the larger schools competing, the DHS Lady Gaels were slotted into Division 2. They were fortunate to host their first two post-season games against Del Oro and Saint Francis, respectively. These victories set up a showdown with athletic powerhouse Carondelet on a neutral court at St. Mary’s College in Moraga. The tone and the stakes were clearly higher.

Dublin High School Lady Gaels Basketball 15This venue had hosted playoff games all day and it was time for the Lady Gaels to take the court for the evening’s featured game. The bleachers were packed with supporters for each team and with other basketball junkies. The environment at McKeon Pavilion was electric as some fans can literally sit right above the east end of the court. The game was taut. It featured 22 lead changes, 10 ties and no lead that exceeded four points by either team. In the closing moments and with a two point lead, the game was clinched when DHS denied Carondelet an opportunity to either tie or to win the game in a last second scramble. The result was a heart –stopping 57-55 victory. What followed was bedlam as the team and supporters flooded the court. Perhaps, it was only fitting that the athletic mascot of Saint Mary’s College is – the Gaels.

So, the business of a possible state championship was next on the agenda. The team was able to dispatch both Del Oro and Saint Francis in two very competitive games that were hosted at Dublin High School. This earned them the right to compete for the Northern California Division 2 championship to be played at Arco Arena in Sacramento – home of the NBA Sacramento Kings. A victory in this game would have allowed them to finally play for a CA state championship title. However, perennial juggernaut Archbishop Mitty of San Jose was able to shake off a lethargic first half and ultimately capture the win. A week later, Mitty won the CA state championship in Berkeley.

In order to honor this very special team, OneDublin.org reached out to Coach Trisha Campbell again to gather her thoughts on this whirlwind season. Further, we elected to invite the five senior players to chime in on what will undoubtedly be their most memorable experience during their tenure at DHS.

OneDublin.org: Subsequent to Saturday’s game, you were quoted as saying “I love these girls.  They came out strong from game one, and they’ve only gotten stronger as they have gone on through the season.”  Now that you’ve had some time to reflect, kindly expand upon those post-game quotes.  Help our readers to understand the 2014-15 journey.”

Coach Trisha Campbell with Lady Gaels

Coach Trisha Campbell with Lady Gaels

Trisha Campbell: “I still stand by that quote. I remember our very first game and the intensity the girls played with- it set the tone for the rest of the season. They kept fighting and working hard and with every win I think their confidence grew and grew. Dublin has always been a good team, but has never been given the recognition they deserve and it was about time we stop settling. I knew this team could accomplish greatness and I knew once they believed it, we would be playing for a championship. I think every team and every season has its ups and downs, we definitely had ours, but I think one of the great things about this season and this team was their tenacity and desire.

“Once we started winning, game after game after game, they expected nothing less; they wanted to win and anything else was not acceptable. By the end of the season they had the tools to respond to pressure and various defenses and when things weren’t going our way or we weren’t working on defense they got on each other and encouraged each other. It can’t just be me telling them what to do because before long I know I must sound like a broken record to them. So, I try my best to reach out to players who may need extra encouraging that week or extra support and your leaders emerge and starting pushing one another. I encouraged all of them to be leaders and they all stepped up when the team needed one. By the time we reached NCS, everyone knew it was “do or die” and I think none of us wanted the season to end.”

OneDublin.org: The NCS title game against Carondelet was remarkable.  They employed a 15 minute full court press to open the first half.  Please share how you prepared your team for this onslaught – both prior to and during the game.

Dublin High School Lady Gaels Basketball 2Campbell: “Press offense is something I have always emphasized since my first year coaching; you have to be able to beat pressure. The first year was a struggle because it is natural for players to want to dribble through a press because it seems so wide open, but in reality the ball gets up the floor a lot faster by passing. Once that clicked for everyone, I never had to worry about us being pressed. In the NCS title game, I kept telling them I want them to press us, I hope they press us and I know they felt the same. It meant layups and quick passing for us- so that’s what we worked on: outlet passes, layups, hitting the middle, etc. They handled the pressure like champions. The bigger preparation was the mental preparation. Again, I know they probably got sick of hearing me repeat myself, but if they hear it enough, then they believe it too- I kept saying they deserved to be there and they were the better team. We are just playing our game in another gym and we are the #1 seed! Walk with confidence and play with confidence.”

OneDublin.org:   This recently completed season probably captured every possible emotion.  Explain what you would want all of your players to take away from this odyssey.

Campbell: “I hope all my players take something away from this season. I think it is probably different for everyone because everyone has a different role. If I had to pick one thing it would be the time and energy it takes to make a team work. You have 12 girls with 12 personalities and they are going to have to be able to work on different teams throughout their lives. It takes work. They were able to come together with the will to achieve a goal and they accomplished it and the reward in the end, knowing how hard you worked for it, is indescribable.”

OneDublin.org: Unless they are in your classroom, you’ll see a bit less of your players in the remaining three months of school.  How do you and your team plan to celebrate the season?

Campbell: “We celebrated our season on April 9th in the Student Union. We had our end of the year banquet to reflect and enjoy our accomplishments together. It’s strange not being together for practices and games- but it was nice to all be together one last time.”

OneDublin.org: Anything else that you would like to add?

Campbell: “I want to wish the five seniors much success in their futures. They are going to go on to do great things and they will be missed next year- they have left their legacy at Dublin High.”

Perhaps, it was kismet. The nature of high school sports is often dictated by the blend of athletes that are willing to devote to the team and to themselves. The 2014-15 Lady Gaels team was laden with five seniors and several other supporting players. The sense of urgency was clear and Coach Campbell recognized it. OneDublin.org had a further opportunity to speak with some of these student athletes. Their responses were clear and very candid.

OneDublin.org: Try to describe the feeling of playing at Sleep Train Arena – home to the NBA Sacramento Kings.

Jojuan Carrington (PF/C): “It was nerve wracking, it’s different and it’s a big adjustment. It’s a little different than playing in our gym.”

OneDublin.org: At what point in this year did you realize that this could be a special season?

Julyana Amante (PF/C): “Obviously, I knew that playing with these girls before that I felt that this could be a successful season.”

OneDublin.org: With all of the time spent on/off the court and travel, what makes you feel that this is a true “sisterhood?”

Maia Peay (PG/SG): “We bonded as a family. I love my team and I love my squad.”

OneDublin.org: Carondelet employed a full-court press for the first 15 minutes of the first half in the NCS Championship game. How did Coach help you to cope with this strategy both before and during the game?

Milan Moses (PG): “We prepared for this because we knew that they were going to jump out on us. We kept our poise and ran our press offense. We broke the press by passing and moving.”

OneDublin.org: You’re all seniors. What type of team do you think that the Lady Gaels will be next season?

Carrington: “I think that everyone has big shoes to fill. It will take a lot of work to build the chemistry that we had this year. It will take a lot of work to come together.”

OneDublin.org: In addition to scholastics, you were an athlete. How will this change the way that you remember your high school years at DHS?

Amante: “Overall, high school will always be memorable – this is like the cherry on top. I’ll remember this forever because it’s so big in my mind and I’ll never forget it.”

OneDublin.org: As the season was coming to a peak, how were you receiving some love from your fellow students?

Peay: “They were cheering us off and on the court. And they were very supportive.”

OneDublin.org: As you removed your jersey for the last time, what went through your mind?

Moses: “That I would never be playing basketball again for Dublin High, but the memories were awesome. I’m glad that we went as far as we did, but it’s kind of sad to think about it. We all have a great future and we’re all going to be great.”

OneDublin.org: As a senior, what will be your favorite memory from this season?

Carrington: “It would probably be the Fresno tournament. I think that it was a shock to us as we started off the season and were getting to know each other. It kind of set the tone for the whole season.”

Amante: “I would have to say it was the final moment when we won NCS. We were all pumped for each other and we all ran to each other when the final buzzer went off. That’s a feeling that I’ll never forget.”

Moses: “Also NCS. When we got a steal and the buzzer went off, I just ran into one of my teammate’s arms. It was just the best moment ever.”

Peay: “Winning that title and having everyone run onto the court. And taking that final team picture on the court was simply amazing.”

So, the best season in program history has concluded for the Dublin High School Lady Gaels Varsity basketball team. It was an amazing accomplishment to witness and it left an indelible mark on the DHS sports landscape. In the end, it required the skill and devotion of a motivated group of student/athletes and the leadership a 2006 Dublin High alumnus and former player to guide them through the maze. OneDublin.org would like to congratulate this year’s team along with Head Coach Trisha Campbell and Assistant Coach Mark Molinar. It will be a season that will be remembered forever.

Editors Note: On April 2, 2015, the Bay Area News Group (BANG) published their East Bay Spotlight on the 2014-15 Basketball season. Guard Milan Moses was named to the First team in recognition for her overall accomplishments this season. Ms. Moses will matriculate through San Diego State University as a scholarship athlete in their soccer program. Trisha Campbell was also named Coach of the Year after completing a 22-3 regular season and a subsequent deep run through the CA State Championship series.

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