By all standard measures they were a good team.
They had a 14-2 record in a compact COVID season.
One loss was to 4A Neuqua Valley and the other was to Aurora Christian, who returned their entire team that competed in the Final Four at State the year before.
Committing themselves to defense, they held opponents to 30 points per game and 27% shooting.
Two girls made All-Conference, Hannah Schuringa and Sureya Alex.
Hannah Schuringa, who finished her career as the second leading scorer in school history in girls’ basketball with 1492 career points, was named IBCA All-State and Daily Herald All-Region, and AP Honorable Mention All-State.
They were a good team.
Playing on the Timothy basketball team means that you are a part of something bigger than yourself.
They were led by 5 seniors. In addition to Hannah and Sureya, Sarah Carstensen, Greta Hoogstra, and Christina Swiech rounded out the senior group. The seniors set the tone for the team by working hard every practice, giving their all in every game, and encouraging and supporting the underclassmen.
They were a good team.
But they were more than that. They were a close-knit group of individuals who represented Timothy Christian with integrity on and off the court.
Sophomores Maddie Drye and Grace Roland joined the varsity team when they were freshmen and have spent two years with this year’s seniors. The unique characteristics of this team were noticeable to them.
“Playing on the Timothy basketball team means that you are a part of something bigger than yourself. In basketball especially, the team is so important. I felt like we always got along well and no one wanted all the glory. Everyone was so selfless and if someone needed a ride, encouragement, or help in any way, multiple girls would step up to meet the need. The team had a lot of the characteristics of the Fruit of the Spirit,” Maddie said.
Grace echoed Maddie’s sentiments, “Playing on the team means so much to me because it’s more than just a basketball team. It’s more like a family. I know every single person there has my back and always will support and encourage me. They’re my support system and some of my closest friends.”
That kind of camaraderie doesn’t happen without some intentional effort. The coaching staff, Head Coach Jill Groenewold and Assistant Coach “Rev” Semeyn, builds in time for relationship development and spiritual growth during the season. “We had rich and meaningful discussions during our devotional times. All the girls came prepared and they openly shared their opinions, struggles, and learnings. Those times led to a bond that was truly amazing,” said Coach Groenewold.
The upperclassmen set the tone and made the difference. “The upperclassmen were so welcoming to me and always treated me as an equal in everything we did. I always felt like I was included and a part of the team,” Grace Roland commented.
Maddie attributes the upperclassmen with impacting her high school experience. “The upperclassmen definitely changed my whole high school experience. When I was a freshman, I didn’t know anyone older. They befriended me and became great examples for me. They led with maturity, a desire to be good, and they knew that inside their worth was not defined by how the game of basketball went on that day.”
The coaches also reminded the girls often of the importance of the name on the front of their jerseys, Timothy Christian. “Every time we take the court we are saying to our opponents, officials and fans, ‘This is what Timothy is about.’ Our team may be the only exposure people have to Timothy. They will formulate opinions about our school based on our play and interaction on the court, and more importantly, people will formulate opinions about what it means to be a Christ-follower based on their interaction with us.” That is a huge responsibility.
Did they make a difference?
Mike Williams, Head Coach at Neuqua Valley, sent this email to Coach Groenewold the morning after our game. “Let me say that you, your staff and team are an example of what high school sports should emulate, a class act from top to bottom. What a game last night, hard played and well coached. It is a shame there are no state playoffs. I would enjoy watching your team win it all. Great job!”
Apparently, the team, the family, had fulfilled their purpose.
The Lady Trojans played their last game of the year at home against Fenton High School. It was the day we honored our seniors. Fenton’s coach, Dave Mello, was touched by the respect his players were shown and that Timothy’s basketball team honored his seniors as well as their own. He was impressed not only with Timothy’s basketball talent, but, more so, with their hospitality and sportsmanship. He couldn’t say enough about how impressed he was with Timothy.
They were a good team, a close-knit family, and a powerful witness!