She shoots, she scores! Girls basketball makes Blue Devil history


Photo courtesy of Varsity Vantage

The WHS girls basketball team celebrates after their state championship victory on March 13

If the “future is female,” then WHS athletics is ahead of the curve. The nationally-ranked soccer team set the tone in the fall by winning states, with the swim team following suit. And, on March 13, appropriately, during Women’s History Month, the girls basketball team hoisted their Group 4 trophy high in the air. 

Led by Coach Liz McKeon, in the program’s best season to date, the team captured their first-ever sectional title on March 8 against Hillsborough, the Group 4 state title in a 43-37 win over Cherokee on Sunday, and will make their first Tournament of Champions (TOC) appearance this week. 

Senior captain and Bucknell University commit Grace Klag has been an offensive force this season with 403 points, 354 rebounds and 17 double-doubles. After a triumphant freshman season on varsity, Klag was sidelined due to an injury during her sophomore and junior years. But, finally restored to peak health in her last season, her contributions to their success are indisputable. 

This year, the girls honed in on the mantra, “We before me,” which senior captain and Emory University commit Chloe Kreusser said, drives them to play together and, most importantly, for each other. Kreusser said, “Our positive mindsets and toughness has allowed us to push this far and have some amazing wins this season.” 

This 2022 team has gone further than any past group, and they’re making this season one for the record books. Their 28 wins are the most in program history. Junior Sutton Factor surpassed the single-season assist record with 139 assists so far, and Klag’s 354 rebounds have garnered a new single-season record. Klag, along with juniors Paige Gorczyca and Annie Ryan, have led the scoring on the Blue Devil offense earning over 300 points each. Their quick ball movement to get open shots has proven just as impressive as their individual efforts. 

Ryan credited the camaraderie of the team as a key element to their success. “Everyone puts the team above themselves and we have really good chemistry,” she said. This bond on and off the court, she explained, combined with a great coaching staff, has enabled the group to play at a high level.

As a future senior leader for the 2022-2023 season, Ryan already has eyes locked on the Union County championship title which they narrowly missed out on this year with a 56-46 loss to New Providence in the final.

All focus is on the storied team in their continued pursuit for more hardware. Between state sections, groups and TOCs, postseason basketball is an entire season in itself. As the Blue Devils continue to advance, Ryan said, “I want [us] to keep playing at the level we have been.” They’ve already played six games en route to the TOC and show no sign of slowing down as they continue to make history.