What a young girl sees when her high school wins it all

Brianna Smith of Pascack Valley High School speaks with reporters. (Howard Megdal photo)
Brianna Smith of Pascack Valley High School speaks with reporters. (Howard Megdal photo) /

By Mirabelle Megdal

(Editor’s note: The author is eight years old, and filed this story after watching her future high school’s girls basketball team win a championship on its home floor.)

Do you know how much basketball means to Brianna Smith, star guard for New Jersey’s North 1, Group 3 championship team, Pascack Valley High School?

“It means everything to me, basketball and winning championships,” Smith told me right on Pascack Valley’s home floor, moments after the Indians beat Northern Highlands, 36-31, to capture the Group 3 title.

We spoke about basketball as the team, Smith’s family and friends celebrated Pascack Valley’s big win.

Smith, who is going to play college basketball next year at Division II Bloomsburg, seems to make all of her free throws — I’ve only seen her miss one all year!

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Watching Smith and her teammates, like Olivia Jones and Sofia Battista, makes me feel excited because they always make the game more interesting.

All of her teammates are great too. One of the best players besides her is Jones. She is number 13 and she is really good at defending but in my opinion, Smith is the best player on the team. She is great at ball handling, defense, and she’s the team’s leading scorer.

Coach Jeff Jasper is intense with his players, but in a way to get through to them, and I think they understand how much basketball means to him and what he is trying to teach them. I also saw how happy he was for everyone on the team when they won.

Seeing people at the high school I am going to attend, I can picture them as me because when I get to high school, I want to be on the basketball team. I picture myself doing the things that the Pascack Valley players today are doing. I know it can be me someday.

Smith is very good at scoring and defending in many different ways. Jones is also very good at scoring and defending in many different ways too!

Pascack Valley girls’ basketball team. (Howard Megdal photo)
Pascack Valley girls’ basketball team. (Howard Megdal photo) /

Ella Giambona is very good at stealing the ball. She runs really fast and I think that helps her as a point guard.

Kelly Andreasen is also a good free throw shooter. She told me she has a checklist in her head she follows, even when the other team’s fans are shouting to distract her. Smith does that as well.

As for Battista, she is also good at free throws, and scoring around the basket, which makes her valuable because she’s an extremely good defender, blocking many shots! All of the players on that team are great, and they play together, which is my favorite part.

I love covering basketball games and just watching the games. I also love watching my sister play basketball, too! She’s five years old, and she takes basketball lessons with Olivia Jones from the team! I also like to practice on my driveway, sometimes with my sister and sometimes by myself.

As I stood on the court, talking to Bri Smith, I saw what all the practice could lead to, and how basketball brought people together. So did she.

Mirabelle Megdal takes notes. (Howard Megdal photo)
Mirabelle Megdal takes notes. (Howard Megdal photo) /

“I love all of my friends on this team,” Smith said, as she looked around. “And I love basketball, because it means everything to me.”

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