Players begin springing into rebound position as Kailey Donovan shoots her free throw.
Jordan Dever lunges for the ball.
The Lady Eagles attempt to make a quick steal.
Kaitlyn Donovan positions for a perfect block as her teammates rush to defend.
Jordan Dever gets a perfect rebound surrounded by players.
The LACS basketball team (from left to right): Coaches Carrie Wells, Dana McCants and Jill Paquette. Players Jordan Dever, Autumn Vento, Aubrey McCants, Kailey Donovan, Emma Morton, Isabella Morton, Kaitlyn Donovan and Ellie Kibler.
(Photos by team parents)
The rise of the Lady Eagles basketball team
By Isabella Morton
Special to The Alpine Mountaineer
On Dec. 6, 2022, the Lady Eagles of Lake Arrowhead Christian School gathered in the gym, wearing matching green knee socks, green practice pullovers and white uniforms. It was the first game of the season.
The girls did their practice drills and then grouped together with their coaches. The opposing team did their own warm-up, clad in blue. Many of the families and friends watching weren’t sure what to expect. As the game came to an end, the Lady Eagles emerged victorious.
This win spurred on a thrilling season for the LACS girls basketball team, especially given their humble beginning.
Last September, the Lake Arrowhead Christian School realized they did not have enough girls to form a basketball team. With only two girls signed up to play, it looked like a basketball season for the girls would not be a reality after all. But, to the relief and excitement of everyone involved, LACS presented their Independent Study Program to homeschool students.
This allowed homeschool students to continue their education at home while still being a part of the school, with the opportunity to participate in sports, join in field trips and take preferred classes. Interest grew as word was spread. Before anyone knew it, a team of nine girls stood in the gym on a chilly December evening, ready to play their best.
“I feel really excited and really nervous right before a game,” said Lady Eagle Emma Morton. “But after I start playing, it’s game time! The nerves go away and it’s time to get down to business.”
The team’s roster includes Jordan Dever and Aubrey McCants, the team’s co-captains; Kailey Donovan, Brook Price and Autumn Vento, the point guards; Isabella Morton and Emma Morton, the posts; and Kaitlyn Donovan and Ellie Kibler, who frequent multiple positions on the court.
The team is led by Coach Jill Paquette and assistant coaches Carrie Wells and Dana McCants.
Coach Carrie provides her view of basketball: “Basketball to me as a whole is a unique game, in that, just like in life, you can’t win by yourself. You need others (teammates) to help your individual God-given talents to shine.”
“I began playing basketball at age 14.” Coach Jill explains, recounting her basketball career. “As a freshman I joined my first high school team, playing for the Avalon Lancers in Catalina. As a junior I played point guard on the varsity team at Western High School. Injury prevented me from playing in college. This is my first coaching position and I consider this opportunity a blessing directly from God.”
The success of the team has grown as the girls have improved their skills and endurance and continue to compete.
“This group of girls has been an absolute joy to coach,” said Coach Dana. “It is unusual to have high school-aged girls decide to play a brand-new sport as aggressive as basketball; however, that is precisely what happened this year. We only had two returning players with consistent experience and added seven players with limited to no experience.
“We started off by slowly building their foundational skills,” Coach Dana added, “but their tenacity and passion to master them, with the hunger to learn more, allowed us to keep challenging them to grow.”
In their league – the Majestic League – the Lady Eagles are 8-0, having won every league game so far. “We play the way we play because, being physically and mentally prepared to compete, means and shows that, in our hearts, we love, understand and respect the game of basketball,” Coach Carrie explained.
“We have gone from a team that struggled to consistently catch or dribble the ball to one that catches, passes, shoots and dribbles with the intuition of much more seasoned players,” Coach Dana said. “It has been so fulfilling to be a part of this process.”
The Lady Eagles have come far with the support of willing coaches, hard-working players, parents and family who make games, practice and progress possible.
“Basketball is all about focus, determination, hard work and, most importantly, the love for the game,” Coach Carrie said.”