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First Person Narrative: Lady Grizzlies Take Down Lake On Cavaliers Court

Coach Booth informed us that we were invited to play a game on the Cavaliers court and attend the Cavs vs. Clippers game later that night. For months, my teammates and I have been counting down the days until we would travel to Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse and take on the Lake Blue Streaks, who were ranked #4 in the state at the Division 1 level. 

The Lady Grizzlies got a picture together after the game on the Cavs City Edition court. The Lady Grizzlies beat #4 Lake 27-26. Photo courtesy WHS Lady Grizzlies.

We had a difficult week behind us, losing to Stow, the current frontrunners for the Suburban League championship, and pulling off a win against Solon who was also ranked very high in the state. Our record going into Monday was 14-5, and this game was our last chance to positively affect our seeding in the tournament, and what better way to play such a big game than on the biggest stage in Northeast Ohio.

We got dismissed from class at 11:30 to meet in the gym and go over our scouting report and game plan. The middle schoolers joined us during this once-in-a-lifetime experience and we filled the bus completely. It was about a 45-minute drive to the arena and there was a different vibe on the bus than usual. Everyone was super excited. We arrived at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse, walked through security, and then got ready for the game in the lobby. There was a little bit of tension in the air because we did not get a locker room and both teams had to enter at the same time, so during this whole process of game planning and getting ready for the game, we were intermingled alongside Lake. 

We finally got down to the court and it was better than any of us could have imagined. The lights were so bright that every time we would look up at the basket to shoot a layup it felt like looking right into the spotlight. The bench chairs were immensely comfy and had reclining and heating settings.

I would love to say that the experience was all that we thought it would be, but I would be lying. We only got a 13-minute warmup, which was not enough time to get used to the arena, and all of our balls were deflated because of the temperature on the bus. Most of the court was covered by the ginormous jumbotron, and it was super difficult to see the time and score. 

The beginning of the game started out very anticlimactic; the game was at 1:30 on a school day so there were almost no fans in attendance. Senior Brooke Manful enjoyed not having to be at school but didn’t like that her parents couldn’t make it.

“A lot of our parents couldn’t come because of work and it felt different not having those support systems there,” Manful said. 

Lyla Wilson, center, won the tip and we started with the ball on offense. Immediately it felt super strange. The paint was bigger than usual, there were two 3-point lines on the court, and everything felt stagnant with no background noise. The scoring also reflected the unusual conditions. 

A close-up view of the court before the Lady Grizzlies were allowed to enter. The arena was full of empty seats and was noiseless. Photo courtesy of Brooke Manful.

“I thought it was a lot harder to focus on the rim when shooting because the lights were so bright,” Manful said. “You also had to pay more attention to where you are on the court because it’s not the same as our court.”

The Lake Blue Streaks only scored 5 points in the first quarter, missing numerous open layups and not being able to make a shot. We did a little better, scoring 15 in the first half. 

The second half was more of the same. Lake made a comeback and came within one point of us, 27-26. The last couple of minutes were full of defensive stops and we pulled out the win despite only scoring 27 points.

It felt amazing beating one of the top teams in the state at such a big arena. We also had a lot of local supporters travel with us including Wadsworth Radio who broadcasted the entire game, Mr. Moore, and Mr. Seiber.

After the game, we walked over to The Corner Alley to play a few rounds of bowling with the coaches. We got dinner at Yours Truly and headed back to the arena to watch the Cavs play the Clippers. The Cavs won in a back-and-forth battle and it was even better to experience it with all of my teammates. 

The Lady Grizzlies only have two regular season games left, February 3 against North Royalton and February 14 against Hoban, another top-ranked team in the state.

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About the Contributor
Brooke Baughman, Opinion Editor
Brooke Baughman is a senior and has been on the Bruin staff for two years. She is the Opinion Editor and loves to write sports stories. She is the beat writer for the WHS volleyball, girls' soccer, and boys' basketball teams. Outside of Bruin, Brooke is a varsity basketball player and is involved in numerous clubs at WHS, including being a peer mentor for the freshman class and teaching 3rd graders about the dangerous effects of peer pressure through a group called HUDDLE. Brooke enjoys spending time with her three dogs, Charlie, Baker, and Dallas, and her grandparents. Brooke plans to attend college and major in a Pre-Physician Assistant program.
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