As they left the court after a tough state playoff loss to Hopewell Valley last year, the juniors on the EHS Girls Basketball team, Ilana Wade, Geneece Boone, Madison Scott and Tamia Warner, all felt the typical post-game emotions: sadness, disappointment, frustration.
But at least it was normal.
At the time, the student-athletes had no idea that it would be the last normal thing for quite some time.
Shortly after that loss, the COVID-19 pandemic swept through the nation. After March 12th, the girls would not return to Ewing High School for the rest of their junior year.
As Ewing High School reopened in the fall, the girls were hopeful and optimistic that they could return to the court in the winter. They knew that there were brighter days ahead, but needed to be sure that a basketball season would actually happen.
“I definitely had doubts about whether we would be able to get to play this year, but we were all excited when we realized that we would get to have a season,” Warner remarked.
Their excitement was heightened by the knowledge that this solid core of upperclassmen would be joined by a dynamic freshman class, including the playmaking Rhian Stokes, interior presence Joi Johnson, and versatile Te'Yala Delfosse.
When the combination of stellar senior leadership and enthusiastic freshman combined on the court, the results were substantial and impressive.
The Blue Devils romped through the truncated Colonial Valley Conference season, overwhelming opponents with their skill and savvy, finishing the season undefeated, including convincing wins over longtime rivals Notre Dame, Hopewell Valley and Allentown.
With no NJSIAA state playoffs this year, Ewing was placed in a mini-tournament of the top teams in the conference, only to see their final game against Allentown, a team it had soundly defeated earlier in the week, cancelled at the last moment after a positive COVID test emerged from a team it played 48 hours earlier.
“I thought that we might have some COVID challenges this year,” Scott stated. “But I didn’t think it would emerge literally minutes before our last title game.”
Regardless of how it ended, all the members of the EHS Girls Basketball team can take pride in a great season and be excited about their bright futures.
They will bring with them great memories, “Every second playing with those girls was the best,” Scott shared. “Senior Night was very special this year as we all got to share the court one last time.”
Warner is interested in playing hoops in college, and her classmates are excited about their next steps in the journey as well, but they move on knowing that the program is set up for success in the future.
“We are grateful and appreciative of our seniors and all they have done for the program,” Athletic Director Ernie Covington stated. “We wish them the best and they will always have a home here.”