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Historic SHP Women’s basketball team

Before Lacrosse and Water Polo there Was Girls Basketball
Grace Rocha ‘25, Athletics Editor and Megan Newby ‘25, Staff Writer

You may know of the success of certain sports teams here at Sacred Heart Preparatory, but few know how it all started. In the early 1990s, one team put SHP on the map for having an amazing athletic program: the Varsity Girls Basketball team. The team had an incredible record-winning streak, acquiring five state championships in only seven years, and maintaining 80 consecutive wins. The team started in the Girls’ Private School League, playing against Mitty, Saint Ignatius, Sacred Heart Cathedral, Menlo, and Notre Dame Belmont. After winning the state championship in Division Five of CCS, the team moved into Division One, despite having a school size of 235 students, which was much smaller than their opponents. The achievements of the team led to the increased enrollment of student-athletes at Sacred Heart, who wished to excel and compete on a successful sports team.
The first team consisted of 11 girls, with nine going on to play on a Division One college team. Most of these girls were multi-sport athletes, who spread the intensity and community they found on their basketball team to their other sports. The team’s passion for the sport is the foundation of Sacred Heart’s athletic program. Dawn Hemm, the director of girls athletics, says the team “put Sacred Heart on the map. Before that, no one even knew who we were.” She also noted that the enrollment rate at Sacred Heart increased following the successful seasons. Wendy Quattlebaum, an athlete on the former team, said, “the success of the basketball team made other sports and other athletes super passionate about the game.” The competitiveness of the sports at Sacred Heart can be attributed to them, because the basketball team inspired other athletes to become more committed to their sports and their teams’ success. Quattlebaum said, “The culture that the basketball team created was then mirrored by other programs at Sacred Heart.”
The team’s triumph can be credited to the team culture that fueled their shared competitive spirit. Wendy Quattlebaum said that, “just being around like-minded kids made [her] want to play beyond [high school], because of the environment the team created”. She had originally started secondary school at Carlmont High School, before transferring to SHP, and said that she probably would not have gone on to play beyond high school if the culture of the team was not so close and competitive. The values of the team fostered positive development and a love for the game. Hemm said, “a lot of the girls came back to coach for [Sacred Heart]” showing that the team had been so impactful to the girls’ lives that they felt inclined to return to it. The teammates and coaches created such deep-rooted connections that many of the girls are still close to each other and carry the memories of the team. Quattlebaum commented that the nature of being on a competitive team “establishes skills that last a lifetime, like teamwork and commitment to each other.” She feels that being on a competitive team is important to the development of athletes and teenagers in general. The culture shift that occurred as a result of the passion and success of the record-winning basketball team is still unceasing in SHP’s teams. Even though most students do not know about the momentous women’s basketball team, the legacy of it is felt in all sports at Sacred Heart.

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