SPRINGFIELD —They won 71 games in four years and averaged nearly 18 victories a season, never losing more than nine in any given year.
But after a disappointing 55-38 loss to Kettering Alter in a Division II regional final March 10, seniors on the Carroll girls basketball team didn’t talk about wins, losses, points or trophies.
Instead, with bloodshot eyes and lingering tears, they spoke about each other and what the last four years have meant personally.
“At the end of the day, these are my best friends,” said Ellie Rumme, a mainstay in Carroll’s starting lineup. “Everybody has each other’s backs. That’s so much more important than winning or losing.”
While that may sound like a player trying to make the best of a losing situation, Rumme didn’t embellish one bit about her feelings.
“Our seven seniors are terrific,” said first-year varsity coach Cecilia Grosselin, who spent several years as the Patriots’ lead assistant before taking over for long-time coach Rob Berry after he died of cancer last year. “I’ve known them since (they were) freshmen. These girls are very close. A lot of it has to do with Rob’s passing. They were kind of forced to come together.”
And that they did.
“We’re all so close,” said Sydney Ingram, a three-year varsity member. “It’s just an amazing thing. Just the energy of everything.”
Rumme actually experienced Carroll camaraderie from Day One.
“When I started off as a freshman on varsity, every single year, the seniors always welcomed me and pushed me to be better than I was before,” she said. “(Now) I’m trying to make other people better. I’m so thankful that that’s how I ended my season.”
Ingram said there are lots of things she will miss about her team.
“Trips in the summer, locker room dances,” she said. “The spirit.”
The senior class also includes Morgan King, Maggie Root, Chloe Lloyd, Amanda Schroeder and Dana Koesters. They went 17-8 as freshmen, 15-9 as sophomores, 16-9 as juniors and 23-5 this season. The Lady Patriots never finished worse than second in the Greater Catholic League Co-Ed North Division and lost only to Alter in league play, going 34-8.
“They’re very special to me,” Grosselin said.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.