Winter sports teams defeat John Cooper


Debbie Pedrick

Captain Camila Sabisky dodges a John Cooper defender.

Katina Christensen, Staff Writer

On Jan. 11, the road to SPC officially began for boys’ and girls’ soccer and basketball. After lengthy bus rides from St. John’s to The Woodlands, the Mavericks swept John Cooper in their first Southwest Preparatory Conference counter-games of the winter season with four wins.

Boys’ and girls’ basketball defeated the Dragons 62-44 and 45-10, respectively. Girls’ soccer came out with an 8-1 victory, while the boys’ soccer team won 1-0. SPC counter-games count towards teams’ standings for the conference tournament at the conclusion of the season.

Winning counter-games is imperative to having a shot at winning a conference championship, and several players said that their win against John Cooper was the ideal way to start off conference play.

“We were all just super excited to start counter games,” soccer captain Stephanie Sarkar said. “There are no teams that we play in SPC that we can take lightly, and we try to emphasize that if we ever go into a game thinking a team is easy and we let up on them, any team can beat us.”

Girls’ soccer scored in the first 15 seconds of the game to gain a lead which they held for the rest of the game.

“Scoring that goal was one of the most important plays of the game and set the standard of the intensity we needed to bring into the game,” Sarkar, who assisted the goal, said. “This win was a team effort, with every player giving maximum effort while they were on the field and being extremely supportive on the bench.”

Getting a win at John Cooper was even more special for boys’ soccer—they lost on that field last year during the SPC championship tournament, and they had not beaten John Cooper at John Cooper in seven or eight years, according to captain Sam Faraguna.

The team was able to clinch a lead in the first half with a ball from sophomore Emile Vlahos on the left side to captain Jack Trent, who scored. With a couple of missed opportunities, the Mavs were unable to score again, spending the majority of the second half in what they refer to as “squeaky, bumpy time.”

Captain William Wallace defined “squeaky, bumpy time” as “a period of time which usually is around 10 minutes left in the game where all of our style goes to the trash, and we just start booting the ball.” Luckily, the Mavs were able to maintain their lead and finished with a win.

Boys’ basketball also came into the game with the mentality that this was a must-win game, and despite coming out a little tight, they were able to open up a 20-point lead in the third quarter that quieted the home crowd and cemented their win.

Junior captain Charlie McGee said that this win gave the team more confidence in their goal to “go make some noise and make a deep run in the SPC tournament.”

For girls’ basketball, the stakes were elevated since John Cooper was a must-win to qualify for SPC. With an injury-ridden season, many key players for the Mavs were out or just returning, further elevating the pressure.

“The past few years we have been good but have never been able to take it to the next level,” junior Eliza Holt said. “This year, we want to be competitive with the top teams in South Zone. Once everyone gets back from injuries, we have the potential to beat teams we lost to last year.”