BY CHERINA EUDOVIQUE
From the opening tip off it was clear that freshmen Jalyn Foland and Chelsea Vinton had come to win. Vinton, the CCHS’s Varsity Girls point guard, brought the basketball up the court scanning around before making a pinpoint pass to Foland for the score. Plantation set up a play and after stellar defense anchored by Foland, Vinton, and senior point guard Briana Saul, the Girls Varsity Basketball Team flew up the court where Vinton hit a 3 point shot.
Vinton and Foland may be two of the newest additions to the team this year, but with 8 encouraging seniors and a coach with aspirations of greatness behind them, they are ready to dominate the newest chapter of their basketball filled lives.
Foland and Vinton both started out playing basketball at a young age. Vinton grew up around basketball, her father played his whole life and her sister plays for the school as well. When she was little, Vinton, her sister, and father would practice together. Her father kept pushing Vinton knowing that if she gave it a chance she would love the game just like he did. His vision eventually came to fruition; the more Vinton dedicated herself to basketball, the more she progressed and displayed a high skill level, and eventually she grew to love the game.
Similar to Vinton, Foland had basketball players in her family. Her father played college basketball and her mother played as well. She grew up around the sport, and the competitive spirit and passion for the game were present even in her early childhood.
“Growing up I would say that my favorite player was Michael Jordan, but I wasn’t really alive during his era,” Foland said. “I like WNBA players too. I really want to play in the WNBA.”
The initial interest in the game soon developed into something more for both girls. By the time they were in middle school, the desire to learn and know basketball as well as competing to the best of their ability was evident by their play on the court.
“In middle school during the last playoff game we were down by 1 with a minute and twenty seconds left when I made the game winning shot,” Vinton said. “By the time we swung that ball around there were only ten seconds left in the game so we won. That was special because it really made my eighth grade year complete.”
On the other hand Foland had to share more of the spotlight in middle school.
“We had an all around really good team,” Foland said. “I had my games where I was really doing well, but the whole team was good. The other guard and I would often switch off being the team’s leading scorers.”
Foland and Vinton each had expectations for their freshmen year, to play basketball and adjust to new high school experiences. However Foland’s 9th grade plans took a turn when she moved to Cooper City in October from Indiana. The move brought her closer to her family and now she attends CCHS and plays on the team just like some of her cousins did.
“At first I was nervous that they weren’t going to accept me because I’m only a freshman, but they were cool about me joining the team,” Foland said.
Vinton’s tryout experience wasn’t anything she couldn’t handle. Years of playing travel basketball, taking private lessons from coaches and practicing with her dad gave her all the tools and experience she needed. The shooting based tryouts here weren’t as grueling as the “go hard” or “giving up trying” travel tryouts.
“One of the main reasons I chose to come to this school was because of basketball,” Vinton said. “Seeing my student number on the roster was cool. Especially because everyone made the team in the end, but making varsity felt good.”
Foland and Vinton not only made varsity, but they also start as guards in the backcourt with senior Briana Saul. Coach Anthony Hardy watched both of the girls play; Foland on tape and Vinton playing travel basketball. The experience that they exhibited let him know that they were capable of helping to lead the team. They each play their respective roles on the team; Vinton plays point guard and Foland’s a shooting guard. Coach Hardy makes every effort to coach each of them to their strengths.
“I don’t run any special plays for either of the girls, or really anybody on the team,” first year Coach Hardy said. “So, their job is to run the team, make sure everybody is in the right position and start the offense.”
It seems that on the court and in practice what class you’re in doesn’t matter so much. The eight seniors on the team support the new additions to the team and respect their talent. The CCHS Girls Varsity team is set on accepting whatever is best for the team.
“Everyone on the team is really close, and the fact that they’re underclassmen isn’t a big deal,” senior captain Briana Saul said. “The seniors try to encourage them as much as possible.”
Team camaraderie is good, but both Foland and Vinton agree that a little healthy competition isn’t bad.
“My biggest competition is Foland because we’re both freshman,” Vinton said.
Even when it comes to game time they are all one team. They both play with a common goal in mind and that is to play their best and to win.
Overall CCHS basketball has high expectations for their “dynamic duo” to become the best players in school history. Vinton and Foland definitely have bright future ahead of them.