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Members of Lady Cardinals basketball team keep eyes on the ball

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Leilani Barbee, a junior at Laguna Creek, has been on the girls basketball team for three years but grew up watching and playing basketball with her family.
“In my family, basketball is something that ties everyone together,” Barbee says.
Her entire family plays basketball, and they all share the mutual love for the game and their favorite teams.
Because of her family’s influence, she’s played point guard since freshman year and has been able to grow with the team.
“We’ve grown a lot from pre-season to now – we’ve learned a lot. Game experience has improved us,” Barbee says about this season. “We’re used to expecting to lose because of our past, but I think we’re getting better.”
Barbee says positive thinking has turned this negative outlook around and that they have a whole new team compared to last year.
“There’s so many new players, and that’s why we don’t think we’re the same team as last year. We’re so much better.”
One of Barbee’s favorite memories happened with her team in January, when the team won against Valley High School. Barbee says it was especially important because they lost to Valley last year, but the team finally beat them this year.
“Coming from a bad season last year to being able to win was pretty cool, because we really know we can do great things,” Barbee says.
Winning is important to Barbee and the team, but being together is just as important to them.
“A lot of memories with my team were close and intimate. Just on the bus, just being happy about a win, or listening to music. We’re all close, so any time we know we’re with teammates is pretty fun.”
Like Barbee, senior Micaela Dagler has been on the girls basketball team for three years and fell in love with basketball when she tried out for the team here.
Dagler began conditioning her sophomore year and admits it was very hard.
“I just kept coming – I didn’t give up. I didn’t really know anybody, but I came to every day of conditioning and then tryouts and all of a sudden they became family. I fell in love with the culture – it had a lot of heart,” Dagler says.
Now, Dagler is the captain.
“You have to be a leader, on and off the court, because other people look up to you. They’re watching you. When you have on that jersey, you have to be careful what you do. You have to be a good role model,” says Dagler.
She plays whatever position the team needs her to play, but she enjoys playing the post position because Dagler knows she can get rebounds.
“It’s fun to be the shortest post out there, and you’re getting more rebounds because you’re an underdog,” says Dagler.
Dagler also loves to play defense. She says that defense is one of the team’s strengths as the team can intimidate their opponents.
Another thing she enjoys is the fact that her team is considered to be an underdog.
“We’re expected to lose, and when you prove them wrong, it’s like ‘Wake up, we’re here – it’s the Lady Cardinals!’” Dagler says.
This season, Dagler says, the team has been successful because of their positive mindset.
“The reason we’ve been winning games so far is our mentality that we are good enough. We just have to trust each other. When we are out there, everyone’s hustling and smiling, and that’s what brings us up. We just have to be mentally tough, just keep fighting and believe in ourselves,” Dagler says.
According to Dagler, the team continues to improve.
“We’re always going to work harder to get better. I just love the bond that we all have together – our environment sets basketball apart from other sports.”

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The student news site of Laguna Creek High School
Members of Lady Cardinals basketball team keep eyes on the ball