A year after the best postseason finish in its brief school history, the Colgan High girls basketball squad is ready to bite back at the pandemic and their Cardinal District foes.
In 2020, the Sharks finished 21-6 with their first state berth, their first region championship (Class 6B) and their first district title. They lost only two seniors to graduation, including one starter in Josie Rodas, so coach Fred Milbert is understandably optimistic.
Colgan has opened 3-0, beating Hylton 65-31, Patriot 67-49 and Woodbridge 61-46.
“Our kids got to experience something in front of a very large crowd in a great atmosphere that is going to prepare them,” Milbert said. “If you don’t experience something, you don’t know exactly what it’s like.”
Last season, Colgan fell in the Class 6 state quarterfinals to Western Branch in a game they nearly won. Colgan led 67-60 before falling 72-71.
“We were almost there and we know this year that we can be there, be in that final,” Milbert said. “We’ve got to prepare physically, we’ve got to prepare mentally and we can’t let little things interfere or get in the way.”
Although the pandemic remains omnipresent, he views the season as vital to show that COVID-19 will not defeat his players’ spirit.
“I feel like if we don’t give our kids some hope, some ability to look ahead and prepare, then we’re taking more of their lives away from them, and I don’t want to do that,” said Milbert. “I want to look forward, and if we’ve got to stop, we’ve got to stop.”
The program, which began in 2016, is right where Milbert said he expected it to be when he started building it.
“It’s not a quick overnight thing. Right now we’re where I thought we should be,” Milbert said.
The Sharks are led by Virginia Tech commit Alyssa Andrews, who averaged 22.1 points and 12.2 rebounds last season. The 6-foot-1 wing was named VHSL 6A girls basketball player of the year last season as well as being ranked the No. 65 player in the nation by espnW.
Also back is senior star Kennedy Fuller.
Milbert said that having a veteran squad helped during fall workouts and the pandemic.
“This fall we had limited ability to work out, we had 25-30 [players] showing up every time we had a workout two days a week,” Milbert said. “That’s commitment. That means our senior leaders are helping trickle that down to the freshmen and incoming people.”