Monday, February 13, 2023, TRIB-LIVE
After coming off a tough season, Fox Chapel’s girls basketball team has quite a lot to be proud of this winter, putting itself in the playoff chase.
Contributing to the success is the lone senior, Elsie Smith.
“Last year was a very difficult season for us, but I think it has helped us learn how to not let bad games or losses define us,” Smith said. “It is a lot more fun this year compared to last. Winning and going on winning streaks brings the team closer and allows us to have more fun in practice.”
Elsie is the daughter of Katie and Stuart Smith. She is the captain of the basketball team, a scholar-athlete and a member of the National Honor Society. She also has been an all-section selection. She is a member of the track team, where she is a hurdler. Smith has been playing basketball for about 14 years.
“My parents put me in basketball when I was little,” said Smith. “I was at least 6 inches taller than every other girl, and I fell in love with the sport.”
Smith took some time out of her busy schedule to sit down and answer some questions for a senior spotlight Q&A:
The team got off to a great start this winter, winning six of its first seven games. What did the great start do for the team in terms of confidence?
I think the great start has caused our confidence to improve immensely. We realized that we can be a good team that wins and upsets other teams in our section.
This season, you missed the first three games because of an injury. Skylar Byrnes and Isabella Barbour have missed time with injuries. How did the team bounce back when missing key players?
The team bounced back very well even when missing all of us. Other players on the roster really stepped up and realized that they are going to have to be more aggressive and more of a factor in the game. Injuries and setbacks motivate the team to win and do better.
Lyla Jablon is making a huge splash this year as a freshman. Tell me a little bit about what it’s like to share the court with her.
I love playing with Lyla. It’s a lot of fun. Whenever someone makes a huge play, she always goes crazy. It’s awesome also to see her confidence improve as the season continues on.
What kind of responsibility has come your way being the lone senior on the team?
Being the only senior or oldest on the team is nothing new to me. Last year, for most of the season, there were no seniors and I was the only junior. I have become used to being the oldest on the team. I take responsibility for making the incoming freshman feel comfortable and welcomed on the team. I make it my goal to befriend all of them so if they ever have a question that they are afraid of or not comfortable to ask the coaches, they can come to me.
What is your role on the team?
My role on the team is to set the tone every day, whether it’s during practice or in games. This includes bringing the energy, even if I am very tired, and being ready to help out and push my teammates, even if I am having a bad day personally.
What did the team do in the offseason to prepare for the season?
We were together a lot in the offseason. It was highly encouraged that if you could make it to open gyms and summer league games that you went. We would have a good turnout for almost every practice or game. This allowed us to prepare more in depth for the season. I also think that summer league let us see that we could shake things up this year.
What are the team goals?
The team goals are to do the best we can in the section and make it back in the playoffs. Once in the playoffs, we want to shake things up and make it pretty far.
What is your favorite memory playing basketball at Fox Chapel?
My favorite memories are from the JV games. The varsity players sit up high in the stands and film the game. We then just talk and cheer the JV team on, but it is so much fun.
How do you feel about your final season coming to a close here soon?
I am very sad about this year being almost over, but I will miss everything about being on the team.
What is one piece of advice you’d like to leave with your teammates?
Never stop having fun. Even if it’s early Saturday morning and you would rather be in bed than at practice, make the most of it because it will fly by.
What is one tradition that you want your teammates to continue after you’ve graduated?
I want my teammates to continue to jam out in the locker room before games and have our annual Christmas breakfast party.
What does basketball mean to you?
Basketball means a lot to me. It has been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember. It has allowed me to meet so many amazing people that have taught me several valuable lessons and helped me grow into the person I am today.
What are your future plans? Is basketball included?
I plan on attending a four-year college but am undecided about a major. I don’t plan on playing any serious basketball in college, but I will most likely join an intramural team.