The Schroon Lake Central School girls junior varsity basketball team is playing short-handed this season. The team includes, from from left, Desiree Lanoue, Caitlyn Jarrell, Rhiannon Hoffman; back, Coach Paul “Butch” Jarrell, Lexi Subra, Molly Wisser and Shannon Garland.
The Schroon Lake Central School girls junior varsity basketball team has a lot of heart, although sometimes heart is a big concern.
The team, which only has six girls, is battling fatigue and health issues this season.
“I have never been more proud of a team I have coached or worked with,” Coach Paul “Butch” Jarrell said. “The Schroon Lake girls JV Lady Wildcats display true sportsmanship, hard work, determination, fortitude, teamwork and play their hearts out.”
The team includes Caitlyn Jarrell, Shannon Garland, Desiree Lanoue, Lexi Subra, Molly Wisser and Rhiannon Hoffman.
That determination was on display Jan. 10 as the ‘Cats beat Willsboro, 21-10, despite playing a portion of the contest with just three players on the floor.
That night Schroon only had five players available because Hoffman was sick.
“We started the away game with a disadvantage of only having five players and no relief from the bench,” Coach Jarrell said. “The flu bug has had its toll on our athletes. The ladies fought hard with no breaks and went into halftime with a 15-2 lead. As you can imagine, we were pumped because of our lead, but we knew the second half would be tough because Molly (Wisser) had four fouls, they were playing pressure man-to-man defense and there was no relief from the bench to give our ladies a break. We had to rely on time-outs and fouls for our rest time.
“Early in the third quarter, Molly (Wisser) was called on her fifth foul which took her out of the game,” the coach said. “Now, we were down to four players on the floor well over half of the third quarter and all of the fourth quarter left to play.”
Complicating matters for the Wildcats in every game is Caitlyn Jarrell’s heart condition. She suffers from Wolf Parkinson White Syndrome. She is playing basketball only until Feb. 6 when she’s scheduled to have heart surgery.
“The maximum heart rate for athletes age 15-16-17 is around 195-197 BPM,” Coach Jarrell, Caitlyn’s father, explained. “The exercise zone of 85 percent of their maximum heart rate is around 167 BPM. When Caitlyn’s heart takes off and races to 200-220-240-plus BPM she passes out. We have been battling her WPW for several years and are looking forward to her heart surgery to correct this problem forever.”
So with just four players, one of them with a heart condition, the Wildcats battled on against Willsboro.
“Caitlyn's heart condition and no relief from the bench was limiting her ability to give us her full potential,” the coach said. “I was constantly telling her to slow down to keep her heart from racing. After all, most other games we could give her relief from the bench. The ladies fought through the third quarter maintaining their lead with our four against five proving that heart, hard work and determination can make a difference.”
Then came the final period, when Caitlyn Jarrell collapsed on the floor.
“As a father and coach, I was faced with a hard choice,” Paul Jarrell said. “I knew she (Caitlyn) needed a break, but we did not have any relief players on the bench. We used a time out to huddle, rest and regroup our strategy. The opposing coach called a back-to-back time out, a very honorable thing to give Caitlyn more rest. I knew Caitlyn needed a longer break than the time-outs and we had to give it to her.”
Schroon Lake played much of the final quarter with three players until Caitlyn Jarrell was able to return.
“The fourth quarter seemed like the longest eight minutes of our lives,” Coach Jarrell said. “The girls fought hard and were encouraged by even the opposing home Willsboro fans cheering for them. When Lexi (Subra), Desiree (Lanoue) and Shannon (Garland) stepped back out on the court and setup in their 1-2 defense on the Willsboro home court, the crowd came unglued standing to their feet uplifting the spirits of these three lady Wildcats. The crowd was cheering, shouting, clapping and standing for these three brave warriors because of their fortitude, heart, determination, and phenomenal display of sportsmanship.
“When the buzzer blew at the end of the game, our ladies knew they had earned the respect of everyone in the gym,” the coach said. “Our victory was sweet and well-earned. When I entered the locker room after the game, the girls were fired up beyond imagination.”
The girls asked their coach for a hug.
“It made all the hard work and every drop of sweat shed this season worth it all,” Jarrell said. “We had a group hug and great pep talk. Although Molly (Wisser) had fouled-out early in the third quarter and the team did not have her, on the court, we discussed how she actually helped build the team’s confidence and spirit. Every one of these ladies played a significant, invaluable part in this larger than life lesson learned during this game. The lessons learned go far beyond the court and will be remembered by these girls and many fans forever.”