“I love it,” Nova Carrasco said after her eighth grade team had just blown out Crane on the basketball court at Alpine Middle School on Feb. 3. “It keeps us busy.”
Carrasco and other members of the middle school basketball teams compete for volleyball club squads, either practicing or playing in tournaments every weekend. Several girls also plan to run on the track and field team and play softball for the middle school before the school year ends.
“We’re powerful, all of us,” fellow eighth grader Ali Maroney added. “We know what we’re capable of. I love both volleyball and basketball.”
On one of the final days of hoops season, Crane brought a bevy of girls to take on the seventh and eighth graders on Tuesday. While the younger teams faced off at the elementary school gym, the soon-to-be high school freshman played at the middle school.
The B teams got the action going. Despite a total of 15 Lady Birds filling up the bench, the Lady Bucks outlasted them 14-12 with only nine players. Some good steals by Kaylee Fierro set up Alpine scoring opportunities. Madeline Warren tried to disrupt and distract Crane at every turn yelling, “Ball, ball, ball,” each time an opponent squared up with her.
Tannin Rainer pulled down a big rebound in the final minute to help seal the victory. Crane had a chance to send it to overtime, but missed two free throws at the very end of the game.
The main event was one sided as the eighth grade A team got out to an early lead. Back to back steals and scores by Maroney and Araceli Ramos put Alpine up by 10, and they led 16-4 at the half.
The second half was equally frustrating for the Lady Birds as they fell 32-8 to an A team that has won most of their games this season under the guidance of head coach, middle school teacher, and high school volleyball coach Megan Fellows. Seven of their eight players scored, led by Carrasco with 10, and Nayeli Huerta-Acosta with six.
Watching along with several other Alpine High School basketball players was Nora Carrasco, Nova's older sister, who is often the leading scorer for her Lady Buck basketball team, and is also a multi-sport student athlete.
“She pushes me to my best,” Nova said. “She’s the one who got me up here to where I am.”