The official student media of Blue Valley Northwest High School

BVNWnews

The official student media of Blue Valley Northwest High School

BVNWnews

The official student media of Blue Valley Northwest High School

BVNWnews

2024 is for girls’ basketball

Taking a look at the Northwest girls basketball teams success this year.
Photo+from+the+girls+varsity+basketball+game+against+Blue+Valley+North%2C+Feb.+16.+The+Huskies+won%2C+45-40.
Paige Mailliard
Photo from the girls varsity basketball game against Blue Valley North, Feb. 16. The Huskies won, 45-40.

Friday night basketball games start long before the boys’ team; they start with the girls’ team, led by new varsity head coach, Chayla Cheadle. The Northwest girls’ basketball teams have had a successful season this year, according to fans, players and coaches alike. This season has been a fun one, with buzzer-beaters and defeating a team they haven’t won against since 2004. With all the hard work the team puts in and successful results, Cheadle said she would love to see more students in the stands for their games.

Cheadle played Division I basketball at KU and in Lisbon, Portugal for S.L. Benfica. After a year overseas, she decided to come home due to knee injuries and homesickness. Since then, she has been a coach for six years, working at Olathe North and Rock Bridge High School.

“I was not able to play anymore [but] I still wanted basketball to be a part of my life. And what greater opportunity than to give back to the young females in the high school setting?” Cheadle said.

When the opportunity came for her to become a head coach, Cheadle said she jumped at it and started her program at BVNW, focusing on the goals she wanted to set, how to accomplish them and what the culture of her team would be. Cheadle brought in two new coaches, trusted friend Jade Holly as her assistant coach and alumna Jess Leone as the junior varsity coach.

“I just kind of put in a plan. And I’m just trying to check off the boxes as we go,” Cheadle said.

Her first impression of the team was of how welcoming they were for her and her staff. The team has been through a lot of adversity due to the coaching changing three times in three years, according to Cheadle.

“I just took the little steps and tried to get to know each and every one of them on a personal level and build a relationship with them before I could really, you know, coach them hard and do things the way I wanted to,” Cheadle said.

They’re getting to reap the rewards of their hard work and I think that says a lot about what Coach Cheadle is doing with them. [She] is leading them right where they need to go. She’s done a phenomenal job in keeping them focused and moving in the right direction.

— Kim White

Over the summer and fall, the team participated in brutal workouts that helped the team get into shape, according to senior Ella Burvee, who plays shooting guard for the varsity team. They lifted weights and had camps, core workouts, scrimmages and sprints. According to Cheadle, her goal with the offseason training was to help the team develop their skills so that when the basketball season came around they could focus on team skills for competition.

“I would say I was kind of demanding [during the summer], but I knew that at the end it would pay off,” Cheadle said.

Kim White, C Team Coach, said she respects the amount of sweat and hard work the girls’ basketball athletes have put into this season. From early morning workouts to summer scrimmages, the girls have demonstrated their relentless commitment to the sport.

They’re getting to reap the rewards of their hard work and I think that says a lot about what Coach Cheadle is doing with them,” White said. “[She] is leading them right where they need to go. She’s done a phenomenal job in keeping them focused and moving in the right direction.”

As the third coach of her high school career, Burvee said she believes that Cheadle has helped their team a lot by setting goals and bringing energy and her experience as a former Division I athlete to practice.

“She’s definitely a tough coach, but it’s just we kind of all learned to have that mental toughness,” Burvee said. “I feel like we’re coached a lot like a college team outside and [she] just [has] high expectations for us [with] the brutality of our practices, but it’s helped us a lot.”

While practices are tough, Burvee says that Cheadle takes into account the team’s personal lives which helps the girls grow as individuals as well as a team.

“Everything that they’re doing on the court is bigger than just on the court. It can translate to their personal lives and their futures. I think that [the] girls are getting more comfortable being able to talk in tough situations and just talk their way through it,” Cheadle said.

One of the key factors contributing to the team’s success is their strong camaraderie, according to Cheadle. White also emphasized the importance of trust and unity, which has translated to their performance during games.

I hope they take away the importance of playing together as a team and building that chemistry and those relationships that allow you to trust your teammates,” said White.

During December after their season had started, they only had one tournament until finally playing more in January. While their friends and fellow peers were celebrating the holidays over the break, the team came in almost every day to practice. 

“To practice for that long [is] a grind because it’s hard to keep your focus and remember why you’re doing it. [It] was great when we were able to get back on in early January and see the progress,” Burvee said.

The first tournament was the De Soto Hardwood Classic, which ended with the varsity team taking home first place. The team was playing against Lee Summit North in the championship game when Burvee made a game-winning buzzer-beater. Cheadle said she was very proud of the girls in that game, due to their fight to take back their lead in the fourth quarter. Burvee said she hadn’t expected to make it at all.

I’m proud of our team’s grit and ability to bounce back through difficult practices. And [there’s] definitely been a change of coaching style than years past and we’ve all adjusted to it really well. I feel like we’ve done a really good job of embracing our coach’s goals and being able to take her criticism without getting too emotionally affected by the delivery of it.

— Ella Burvee

“I think that’s kind of why it went in; because it was just like no pressure,” Burvee said.

Another impressive win the varsity has achieved this season is the win against St. Thomas Aquinas, a team the girls’ varsity program hasn’t beaten since 2004. According to Burvee, the team started the game off strong, staying focused from the tip-off until the end of the game. 

“We had something to prove to everyone because I feel like just in the EKL we’re looked down upon because in past years we have been our record hasn’t been very good. So I think just our motivation and energy really helped us [win],” Burvee said.

Currently, the team is sitting on fifteen wins and six losses, a record that has improved over the past two years. Several factors contributed to this year’s successful season, one of which is the team’s mentality. 

“I think with the girls knowing what they want out of the season and added their individual goals on top I think has definitely helped,” Cheadle said.

Burvee agrees, saying that her teammates are resilient through coaching changes and can pick each other up through bad practices and games.

“I’m proud of our team’s grit and ability to bounce back through difficult practices. And [there’s] definitely been a change of coaching style than years past and we’ve all adjusted to it really well,” Burvee said. “I feel like we’ve done a really good job of embracing our coach’s goals and being able to take her criticism without getting too emotionally affected by the delivery of it.”

The team has a great record, but according to Cheadle, they need to work on weathering the storms. Burvee agrees, saying that it is important to have good teammates to get you out of your head when something goes wrong.

“Sometimes when we get hit in the gut, sometimes we don’t know how to fight back. And I think the more we gut get checked, and the more we learn how to fight back, the easier it’ll be for us to overcome the big obstacles,” Cheadle said.

A big goal the girls have this year is to make it to the state competition, an accomplishment the program hasn’t achieved in many years. According to Burvee, the team has high expectations and believes they can make it far into the tournament as long as they stay on track.

“As coaches, we’re going to continue to coach them extremely hard,” Cheadle said. “We’re going to continue to do the same routine that we do with them, and help that the girls come out ready to play and compete.”

After putting this much effort into the program, Cheadle said she would love to have more student support at games. After all the hard work she has done to build the program, the players’ hard work during the past months and the success the team has achieved, it would be nice to see more people in the crowd. 

“Hey, we’re working. Don’t sleep on us,” Cheadle said.

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About the Contributors
Madison Kraft, Writer
Madison is a first-year writer for “The Express” and a sophomore. Along with being a proud member of the paper, Madison is involved in cross country, varsity track and field, KAY Club, Rise, and Team Up for St. Jude’s. In her valued free time, Madison enjoys watching movies, reading, cooking, and spending time with friends. She is so happy to be part of “The Express” family and is excited to meet new people and develop her journalistic writing skills.
Sanaee Joshi, Writer
Sanaee Joshi is a sophomore and contributes as a writer to “The Express” on her first year on staff. She sings in the Blue Valley Northwest choir in Vox Animae. In her free time she enjoys spending time with friends, cooking, singing, reading, and drawing. Sanaee can’t wait to be a part of “The Express” team.
Paige is a junior and a photographer for “The Express.” This is her first year on staff. Outside of newspaper, Paige is involved in tennis, track and field, NHS, AVID, KAY Club and Relay For Life. In her free time, she likes to spend time with her friends and family, work out and travel. Paige is excited to be a new member of “The Express” and is looking forward to this year!
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