Stuyvesant’s Dark Phoenix

Coming off a 12-4 season, the Stuyvesant Phoenix looks to make it back onto the road of success in what has been an underwhelming season.

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By Hepzibah Srithas

Coming off of a 12-4 season, the Stuyvesant Phoenix looks to make it back onto the road of success in what has been an underwhelming season. “After last year, the expectation is always the same. We always expect and plan to make [the] playoffs,” head coach Vincent Miller said.

Standing at 6-9, the girls’ varsity basketball team aims to win its last regular season game, which would cap off what some might see as a disappointing season. Hit by injuries left and right, especially before crucial games, the Phoenix have not tasted major success since their exceptional 2021-2022 season. Despite substantial losses against highly skilled opponents, the team has shown ample grit and dedication when it comes to withstanding some of this season’s toughest challenges.

In a season where starters were in-and-out with injuries, like sprained ankles or concussions, the Phoenix’s grit and willpower were put to the test. “For most of the season, we have not played with a full roster. Despite the injuries, we still work hard in practices and games,” Miller said. This hard work and determination translated into several stellar games for the Phoenix, many of which were won by players who have truly stepped up their game this season, whether it be in scoring, playmaking, or defending, since last year. The senior captains made an excellent impact throughout the season: senior and co-captain Samantha “Sammy” Furman, an excellent leader on and off the court, senior Adriana Lam, a picture-perfect basketball player, snagging boards and always hustling down the court, and senior and co-captain Caitlin Wong, a tough and gritty player who single-handedly took control of the Phoenix’s fourth quarters. Additionally, other seniors put up excellent statistics to help the Phoenix conquer adversity in each of their six wins, such as senior Marion Rambler, who is one of the best rebounders in the PSAL A division, senior Venus Wan, the Phoenix’s best defender this season, and senior Savana Yeung.

Despite having such talented players at the helm of the roster, most of the season was marred by injuries and adversity that could not be crushed by the Phoenix. “Usually it’s five-on-five, but this year especially, it felt like one-on-five out there sometimes,” Furman said.

Though this season was less successful than the Phoenix had hoped for, the team has a lot to look forward to next year. They showed sparks of excellence throughout the year, illustrating their potential to rise in future PSAL seasons. In particular, this season saw the rise of a new playstyle, one that could change the outlook of the team for years to come. “A lot more of our team got to play this year, much more than last year. [Though] on paper we were not that successful, I feel like our quality of play, even in practice, has gotten better,” Wong said.

To cope with adversity all season long, the Phoenix resorted to plugging different players into the lineup every game, resulting in experience for the entire roster. Whether it be a freshman who just joined the team or a senior who had been there for four years, everyone was contributing. Lam credits this to the team’s “cohesiveness” during the regular season, with Furman adding that the group developed excellent chemistry as “the team was not divided by grade and [they] played as one team.” Subsequently, in a year that was not as successful on paper, the girls’ varsity basketball team developed valuable skills, such as determination and discipline. “I’m just so confident in the people we have on this team. I’m so happy with where we’re leaving them and I know that they are ready for next season. They’re in good hands and I know they are well prepared for it,” Furman said. Looking back, this season has been one to help set up for future Phoenix teams, implementing a system where everyone is contributing and part of the team effort.