Taconic Girls Honored for Sportsmanship
PITTSFIELD, Mass. – The Taconic High School girls basketball team has been awarded the 2014 Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association Basketball Team Sportsmanship Award.
The Pittsfield Public Schools Athletic Department announced the award on Tuesday morning, noting that Taconic, under third-year coach Matt Mickle, was selected based on criteria that include teamwork, fair play, respect for opponents, ethics and citizenship.
“On and off the court, we’re extremely proud of this team,” Mickle said. “Teamwork, goal setting, and responsibility are all values that we preach. We’ve got some talented students that strive to be their best as individuals, teammates, and community members.”
Perhaps no act better symbolized the community spirit the award recognizes than Taconic's response to a tragedy that befell one of its opponents this season.
Prior to Taconic's mid-January game in Springfield at Cathedral High school, a member of the Cathedral basketball team lost her home and her family's possessions in a fire.
After finding out about the incident, and the efforts by the Cathedral team to arrange small fundraisers to help aid the player and her family, the Taconic team members and coaches stepped up to lend a hand.
The teenagers representing the Taconic basketball team took it upon themselves to collect money for the cause - and presented the family with a sizeable donation on the day in which they played against Cathedral in Springfield.
In a time in which many athletic teams are judged simply by wins and losses, the teenagers that represent the Taconic girls basketball team displayed a tremendous amount of selflessness and kindness in an effort to support a fellow teen and her family who they had never met.
In February, Taconic hosted the Berkshire County Girls Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony. As part of that day's events, members of the team organized and supervised a youth clinic for elementary school girls.
Taconic finished the season 10-10, reaching the Western Massachusetts tournament for the first time in four years. It won its first round game before falling on the road to eventual sectional finalist North Middlesex.
It will be recognized on Saturday at the DCU Center in Worcester during a ceremony to be held in conjunction with the 2014 state basketball championships.
Team members include: Kailey Bell, Catherine Barry, Jasmine Rodrigues, Shaylee Conyers, Nyanna Slaughter, Cortnee Clemons, Makenzie Astore, Shea Hassett, Kirsten McNeice, Kaicey Cavanaugh, Angela O’Neil, Brianna Rogers, Gianna Paris, Maddy Quinto, and Jane Walker.