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Buckner leads varsity girls basketball team as only senior

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Buckner leads varsity girls basketball team as only senior

Senior Desia Buckner goes up for a layup on a breakaway. Buckner is the only senior on the girls varsity basketball team.

Senior Desia Buckner goes up for a layup on a breakaway. Buckner is the only senior on the girls varsity basketball team.

Noah Siderhurst

Senior Desia Buckner goes up for a layup on a breakaway. Buckner is the only senior on the girls varsity basketball team.

Noah Siderhurst

Senior Desia Buckner goes up for a layup on a breakaway. Buckner is the only senior on the girls varsity basketball team.

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A typical high school varsity sports team is made up of mainly juniors and seniors, with the exception of some higher-level young athletes. However, the girls varsity basketball team is anything but typical this year. Featuring five freshmen, the team has one of the youngest rosters and least high school level experience in the district. Desia Buckner is the only senior on the team, which she finds to be both challenging and rewarding.

Buckner began playing basketball in eighth grade at Skyline Middle School, and then went on to play for the JV team her freshman and sophomore years. Last year, she took the season off to focus on work and is now playing her first varsity season of basketball this year. Buckner was nervous going into this season and knew that she would face challenges with the transition.

I got a lot more patience… Usually I [just want] to get things done, but it’s more about understanding and trying to hear it from their side.”

— Desia Buckner

“It’s nerve-wracking. It’s hard to go from a [small team] of six people on JV and now [more] on varsity. All the time on JV I knew I was going to be a starter and play 32 minutes of the game,” Buckner said. “[Now], it’s [asking], ‘Am I going to get minutes this game?’ There’s [tall] freshmen that are starting over me.”

According to Buckner, being the only senior is also difficult because she can’t relate as well to the younger players.

“I [had] played with the girls that I came into high school with. It being my last year, it’s just me [so] I don’t have the people I started with. It was fun with them because they were in my grade so I could talk about classes with them,” Buckner said. “With the lowerclassmen, it’s kind of hard to relate because I’m basically already finished with high school [and] it’s my last year here. They’re just starting and getting into it.”

On the other hand, Buckner enjoys being a leader and setting an example for the younger players.

“It’s fun because you get to explain to them that it’s hard at the moment, but the end process is a lot better when you put the work in. It looks hard now, but later on it’s going to be a lot easier, better and more fun,” Buckner said.

At practice and in games, Buckner provides encouragement to others as well.

“If we get in trouble at practice for talking and we run, I’ll go help my teammates. [I tell them to] just finish this last sprint. It’s the last one, [and] once we finish, we’re done,” Buckner said.

Buckner believes that the team is still growing and has potential for success in the rest of the season. She attributes early-season losses to inexperience and has a positive outlook for upcoming games.

“We’re doing okay. We lost a couple games we didn’t need to lose, [like] Buffalo Gap and Western Albemarle. We should’ve beat those two teams,” Buckner said. “I think we’re going to get a lot better. [We have] some big games coming [up] for us. Even though we have some losses, we’re still coming together as a team. It’s a new group of people.”

Being on a team with many younger players has allowed Buckner to gain leadership skills and patience in working with others, which will translate for her next year as she studies nursing in college.

“I got a lot more patience. [If] you don’t really understand the drill, let’s explain it so you do,” Buckner said. “Usually I [just want] to get things done, but it’s more about understanding and trying to hear it from their side.”

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