Excitement filled the air on Thursday evening as Immanuel Lutheran ladies basketball teams hosted crosstown parochial rival St. Paul. The series between the longstanding schools dates back decades.
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The first game of the evening would pair the St. Paul 6th grade team against Immanuel’s undefeated B team comprised of 5th and 6th graders. Lisa Driver, Immanuel’s B team coach, shared that her team prides itself on good sportsmanship and teamwork. She has relied heavily on her co-coaches to help prepare the team for teaching organizational skills that would allow them more open shots during games.
“We have very generous players that look out for each other. They make sure that each member of the team is provided with scoring opportunities.”
Although both teams battled hard, Immanuel emerged the victor with a final score of 16-12.
The following game would find the St. Paul 8th grade team, 9-6, facing Immanuel’s 7th and 8th grade A team. Dan Sherman, coaching at St. Paul since 2009, strives to teach the love of the game, playing competitively, and good sportsmanship.
“There are bigger goals to achieve than just winning the game.” He attributes part of the team’s success on his Assistant Coaches, Brad Cavanaugh, Dana Jessen, and Don Cook. “These coaches help make practices worthwhile and keep the girls working hard.”
On the opposing side of the gym, Immanuel Coach, Dallas Wilson, was prepping his team for the game ahead. The team, 11-2 for the season, also holds the school record for most basketball wins for any team. The team is coming off a win against Griffith’s Calumet Christian to whom they previously lost earlier in the season. 8th grader, Grace Leverich, helped seal that victory with 27 points. The team has logged only 2 losses this season and by doing so, are 1 of 9 teams across the state invited to participate in the Indiana State Lutheran Tournament in Fort Wayne. In order to proceed to the tourney, they first will need to win a game against Indianapolis Calvary in Lafayette on Saturday. Coach Wilson is relying on the team’s three 8th graders, Sophie Halfmann, Ruth Stamp, and Leverich to pave the way for a team win.
“I am extremely proud of the hard work and tenacity that this team has approached this season. The girls leave their hearts on the floor every single game.
At the buzzer, St. Paul would claim the win with a score of 37-30.
“We’ve enjoyed a great, healthy relationship with both the public and private schools in Valpo. We appreciate events like this that help keep those relationships strong”, Joshua Bachman, Immanuel Principal.