‘A force to be reckoned with:’ Wakefield women’s basketball defies the odds

Emily Dudash and Jordan McIntyre

The ladies of Wakefield’s girls’ varsity basketball team are preparing to end a productive season on the court; they currently stand fourth in their conference and are projected to end the season with a 70 percent win streak. The ladies’ diligence and indefatigable spirit has allowed the team to overcome the odds and regain confidence following a rocky 2021-2022 season, where they finished last in the conference and with a 15 percent win streak

Sophomore Aly Schaffer is a guard on the team and is in charge of defending the opponent’s point guard. She is one of the underclassmen on varsity and has found that regaining confidence following a troublesome year has been one of the biggest challenges for the team to overcome.

“[A lot of] the teams overlook us from last year’s record and underestimate us,” Schaffer said. “We overcame this by coming out and playing the way we knew we could and we started to win games and gain momentum.”

This season rivaled the despondency felt from previous seasons and will be remembered as the year the Lady Wolverines’ made their comeback. Junior manager, Braylen Hopson, explains how confidence was key to starting the season off with a bang. 

“The girls not only worked hard but had to make sacrifices which only led the team to success,” Hopson said.

With a positive record heading into the new year, the ladies are sure to overcome any challenges they faced in the 2021-2022 season. Junior Brooke Masingale has started on the varsity basketball team since her freshman year and can attest to the adversity. However, Masingale highlights the special factor that separates this particular team from past teams.

“Our team bond and the way we all use our specific skills to help each other is what is making the team so successful this year,” Masingale said. “We had to prove to everyone and ourselves that we are a good team and that we are capable of winning.”

My favorite part about being on the team is being a part of a sisterhood.

— Williams

The girls are together nearly every day for nine months straight. With consistent practices, workouts and games, the ladies easily found a special connection within the team that couldn’t be found anywhere else. 

“My favorite part about being on the team is just the atmosphere and friendship that the team has,” Schaffer said. “We all know we have something in common and that just brings us closer. We are together at least five times a week every week from June to February and so we just grow really close and it’s like a big family.”

Junior Essence Wilkerson has played basketball since she was in the fourth grade and continues to thrive on the court.

“My favorite part about being on the team is being a part of a sisterhood,” Williams said.

With their current success, it’s no question that the chemistry of the team has benefited their communication skills on the court. The ladies of Wakefield’s girls’ varsity basketball team are proof that despite the odds, success is attainable for anyone who is willing to put in the hard work and dedication.

“We aren’t just another Wake County team,” Hopson said. “The Lady Wolverines are a force to be reckoned with and [everyone] will see [that] soon.”