The student-run newspaper of the Liberal Arts and Science Academy

The Liberator

The student-run newspaper of the Liberal Arts and Science Academy

The Liberator

The student-run newspaper of the Liberal Arts and Science Academy

The Liberator

LASA Basketball Shoots High

Girls and Boys Teams Reach New Heights in 2023-2024 Seasons
BeauxCephus Media
REBOUND | Junior Vince Williams rebounds in a game against Navarro Early College High School. The boys basketball team ended their season by advancing to the first round of the playoffs ranked second in the district.

LASA Raptor basketball was first established in 2020, and since then, both the girls and boys teams have made progress in developing a strong program and team dynamics, with the girls’ team’s district record improving from 9-7 last season to 13-3 this season. To recognize this success, both teams have been featured in numerous Austin American-Statesman articles. 

With head coaches Jametria Green and Joseph Pendell leading the girls and boys varsity teams respectively, both advanced to the first round of the playoffs, with girls ranked third in the district and boys in second. 

Throughout the 2023-2024 season, Green and her team have been working on solidifying team values, plays, and chemistry. The Raptors are prioritizing culture through confidence and competitiveness on the court. Green has noticed how close the players have become this year, and she wants them to remember that they will always have each others’ backs.

“It takes a village to do anything powerful in this world,” Green said. “If you want to do anything incredible, anything powerful, you have to work together.”

In addition to rigorous practices and games, the girls’ team spent several mornings reading to students at Oak Springs Elementary. According to junior guard Taylar Edgerton, being a part of a team sport surrounded by driven teammates has allowed her to improve in aspects of her life outside of sports.

DEFENSE | On January 23, LASA Girls Basketball defeated their rivals, McCallum High, 40 to 37 at home. The victory extended the Raptors’ four-game winning streak and marked the Knights’ only district loss of the season. (Izzy Cravotta)

“My favorite part about being on the team is being able to see how well other people work together because I think that’s a very valuable skill to have,” Edgerton said. “I think that’s something LASA does well because we’re all able to take each other’s talents and work them together on the court.”

Since the team has grown closer together and learned how to utilize the strengths of their teammates, the Raptors were able to make LASA history when they defeated McCallum, the number one team in the district, 40-37. The team used the momentum from their win over McCallum to propel them into their playoff game.

“Defense,” Edgerton said. “That’s one of the main things our coach preaches. Defense wins the game, and I think that’s why we beat McCallum because we had multiple sets where we were running sets for a solid minute. They couldn’t do anything, and I think we gotta get cracking down on our defense and move the ball as well as we can.”

LASA senior Andrew Teodorovich also noticed changes within team dynamics and the overall growth of his teammates. According to Teodorovich, LASA boys basketball has been implementing their team values of total dedication to the sport and commitment to regimented practices above all else. 

“[Players] will have overall growth in commitment because now everyone’s in the class [elective] period and at all the practices,” Teodorovich said. “It’s more mandatory that you’re at practice because other players in the past sometimes missed when it was accepted, but now it’s not.”

With the program developing a more prominent presence in LASA culture, Teodorovich and other players feel more confident and supported by fans, coaches, and teammates. The increased school engagement has additionally translated to the school being able to have the interest necessary to create more periods for the basketball class, for example.

GUARD | LASA senior Lyssa Lashus prevents McCallum freshman Ruby Airhart from passing the ball. Both the girls and boys basketball teams finished their 2023-2024 seasons with their best records yet. (Izzy Cravotta)

“With the number of kids in the classes, now they also have a second period for freshmen,” Teodorovich said. “We’ve been seeing more people going to the games, more people talking about them… definitely growth and community around the team and within the team as well.”

Under the direction of Pendell and Green, both boys and girls basketball have set historic records in Raptor history. They each had their best records yet for the 2023-2024 season in LASA basketball. But the value of the team goes beyond just winning and helps the team members grow, according to Edgerton.

“LASA has helped me mentally, more than anything with both basketball and the school aspect of LASA,” Edgerton said. “I think that the school work has made me more confident … and [helped me] face challenges to my fullest potential … and that also applies to the basketball court. Freshman year is rough for everyone, but being able to look back at that I’m glad that I was able to go through all of that because it made me the person that I am today.”

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