It hasn’t been an easy season for the Lejeune High School girls’ basketball team. With few numbers and a dearth of experience, the Lady Pups had their back against the wall all season.
LHS fell to Pender 57-16 on senior night Feb. 14 then suffered a season-ending loss to top-seeded Croatan in the first round of the Coastal 8 Conference (1A/2A) tournament on Feb. 18 to finish the year winless.
Coming off a year where the program was cut due to lack of numbers, the Lady Pups faced a number of challenges. New coach Len Tarnowski stepped into the role with a handful of freshmen on a varsity team with just four upperclassmen, one of which was a first-time player.
Despite the hand they were drawn, the Lady Pups were able to make the most of the year and see the positive side of things.
“Even though we didn’t win games, I still had fun and learned a lot about basketball,” said senior Kayla Stevens. “I am a better player because of coach.”
Senior Marie Kristensen, who came to Lejeune from Norway this year, was happy to be introduced to the game of basketball while experiencing North Carolina’s southern hospitality.
“It’s really different here from Norway,” Kristensen said. “They are way more welcoming and loving here.”
The team will be remembered as the group that helped start a new era in girls’ basketball at LHS.
“It was really hard in the beginning, but at the end of the season we pulled through,” said senior Kayla Lazaro, who led LHS with seven points on senior night. “We are leaving behind the fact that we brought back (girls’) basketball to Lejeune, and I’m proud of that.”