This season, although painful in the end, was very impressive for East. Having only lost two seniors from last year, the girls were ready to improve on their record of 8-11.
After hitting her 1000th and 1001st career points, the game was stopped by the officials as the East girls stormed the court and celebrated. Fitzgerald received the game ball, as well as balloons that spelt out, “1000.”
Head coach Nicholas Conti commented on the 1000th point moment, “She found the groove and rang in the 1,000 like we all knew she would,” Conti said. “She was determined to set the record tonight…”
Fitzgerald herself also remarked on making Sturgis history,
“It was so surreal. I've had this dream since freshman year and to able to fulfill it was crazy. I couldn't have done it without my team. They were 110% behind me the whole way and they were so supportive through it all.
One memorable game for the Storm was on Senior Night against rivals Sturgis West at the HYCC on February 3rd. The girls varsity won a 35-30 thriller in front of a mass of people from both campuses. The Storm led 19-9 at half time, but a late-game surge from West cut the lead to two with less than a minute remaining. Soon after, Meaghan Fitzgerald scored on a clutch offensive rebound putback on the following possession to give East a 34-30 lead. Senior co-captain Emma-Kate Nemes also was a big difference maker with 10 points and 7 rebounds. The Storm will be graduating six seniors this year, with Nemes and Zoe Wright starting the past two season and Fitzgerald starting all four seasons.
Emma-Kate Nemes shared her thoughts on her final season in a Sturgis uniform:
“We have had a lot of ups and downs but overall this season was the best one of my four years playing. With six seniors we all connected with each other and became very close on and off the court. We all grew to be friends and all our relationships strengthened from the freshman to the seniors ... I got my fourth foul with 7 minutes left in the game and I knew Conti was going to take me out until the last few minutes, and I just started sobbing. This was the last time that not only I will be playing, but the last time that we will play as a team … We have grown to be such great friends, with one goal in mind, to play our best, and it was sad knowing that I won't experience that again.”
Other seniors that will be graduating this year include Maggie Randall, Cat Cameron, and Nicole Colucci. Randall, who is also the Sturgis East Student Council Vice President, talked about her four year experience playing Sturgis basketball:
“When I started playing basketball for Sturgis freshman year, my one goal was to become a better player. Looking back on the past four years, what I had never expected was a team that I have come to know as family. I'm so grateful for the people I have met and the memories we have shared. I can honestly say that I did accomplish my goal of becoming a better player, but through my teammates I also became a better friend and a better person. Thank you to Coach Conti, Coach Bob and the entire team for making this final year so memorable…”
Although the Storm could not qualify for the tournament, this season was something special for everybody. It consisted of a thousand point scorer, close games, team bonding, a respectable record, and a fun team to watch. The 2015-16 East girls varsity team will have some big shoes to fill next year, but with the plethora of talent ready to step up, including second year player-to-be Lauren Estep, and JV starters Maggie Adams, Emily Rodericks, and freshman Corinne Tobey. With all of this talent coming up through the ranks, the Storm will look for another playoff push next season.