Less than 24 hours before the program’s first appearance in the Maryland 4A state championship game, the North Point girls’ basketball team was ready.
They spent Friday afternoon going through one last practice and film session, and followed it up with a team spaghetti dinner in Coach Michael Serpone’s classroom. Any other day, the team would head home to rest. But the Eagles boys’ basketball team was playing for the 4A East region title downstairs in the school’s gym.
“I know that if I even told them to go home and rest they would stay here and watch anyway,” Serpone said. So after dinner an assistant coach led the team to the gym.
By the time the girls arrived, the gym was packed. A section was set aside for the team, as always. “They don’t get to see each other during the [regular] season, because when they’re home, we’re away and vice versa,” Serpone said. “But during the playoffs, when they alternate the days, they come out and support each other.”
Typically the Maryland boys’ and girls’ basketball tournaments are played on the same weekend. This year, the boys’ tournament was pushed back a week because of a scheduling conflict at Comcast Center. “This year with the staggered schedule it’s been easier” to see games, Serpone said. The boys’ coaches “even switched the practice schedule a little bit so that they could watch us play” in the 4A semifinal, “and we would do the same.”
Said sophomore Jessica George, “We will still get our rest in, but we needed to come support the boys when we can and then we’ll get rest.”
There was little resting during the game. Baskets were cheered, fouls were argued. At one point, several of the girls followed a routine by the cheerleaders. The team quieted down only as the boys opened a 20-point lead. And then the girls started cheering again, chanting “Scoreboard” to the opposing fans.
The team fed off the energy of the fans, knowing that the next day the same crowd would be cheering them on. “Being part of the crowd, we get hyped, we get pumped,” George said. And being in the stands as fans gives the girls a stress release. “When we get ready to play we’ll get in game mode,” George said.
The boys won on Friday to advance to the state semifinals on Thursday. They will try to match the girls — who on Saturday won their first Maryland 4A girls’ basketball title.