This year was a fresh start for the girls basketball program with an entirely new coaching staff. Coach Roe came to Orange with the hope of transforming the team. “We wanted to keep the main thing and that was establishing a new culture for Orange Girls Basketball. We wanted to bring a competitive, fast-paced, and enthusiastic energy to the program and the girls bought in” Coach Roe said. The girls finished the season with a record of 4-19.
The beginning of the season started off rocky for the Pioneers. The girls played in their season opener against Thomas Worthington on Nov. 22, 2019 and lost 49-20. Two weeks later, the girls faced off against rival Olentangy Liberty. Unfortunately, that game ended with a 21-67 loss for the ‘Neers, but that didn’t discourage them.
Still early on in the season, the girls played at Westerville Central on Dec. 13. The Pioneers battled against the good warhawk team and was able to walk away with their first win of the season, with a score of 76-64. Freshman Kayla Delmore led the team with 19 points that night. “It felt good to have a win since we had been working to improve each game,” Delmore said.
After playing Olentangy on Jan. 3 to start the new year and losing 38-53, the girls had some fire in their hearts. The girls played Grove City on Jan. 14 and played tough in the close game. The score went the Pioneers way, as they won 37-32. Following that win, the girls were back up against the Patriots on Jan. 17. The girls came out much stronger than their last meeting and showed much improvement. Although the girls fought hard, they fell to Liberty 29-51.
The Pioneers found themselves playing Westerville Central again on Jan. 24. Hoping for another win against the Warhawks, the Pioneers led the majority of the game, but ended up losing in the closing minutes, 44-48. Next on Jan. 28, the girls played another really close game against Lancaster, but lost 37-39.
Fortunately, the Pioneers closed out the regular season with a win. They played Licking Heights and dominated in the second half to earn themselves a 52-36 win.
For the postseason, the girls earned the 43 seed and a bye for the first round. They then faced off against #9 Reynoldsburg on Feb. 21. Although they were the underdog, the Pioneers showed true potential and incredible improvement as they only trailed the Raiders by four points at the half. After gaining the lead in the second half, the Raiders had a run that the Pioneers couldn’t come back from. The girls ended the season with a 40-62 loss.
Although the score board didn’t show the team improvement, the girls and coaches were overall very happy about the season. “Our “motto” was C.A.N.E.I., constant and never ending improvement. After our first 5 games, we began to realize our record doesn’t reflect our play, as our conference was tough, and we grew game by game” Coach Roe said regarding the season as a whole.
The league awards included junior London Davis and freshman Kayla Delmore earning special mention all-league, and sophomore Ellie Beck earning honorable mention all-league. The team awards included the Coaches Award to Kayla Delmore, the Pioneer Award to junior Reese Miller, and the C.A.N.E.I. Award to freshman Emma Delmore.
The girls are expecting big things for the 2020-21 school year. “The offseason is all skill and strength based, our effort is always there. With the new conference alignment we look to establish ourselves early in the first half of the season” Coach Roe exclaimed.