Pirates Gain Motivation


Taylor Burcham attacked the hoop during a home game against Warren on January 12, 2023. The Pirates won 57-26 during this game. “I can’t wait to see what the rest of the season holds for us,” said Taylor Burcham ‘24.

Over the weekend of Saturday, January 14 through Monday, January 16 the Galena Pirates Girls Basketball team traveled to Byron, IL for the MLK Tournament. This tournament expanded the competition for the Pirates, as they competed against all non-conference teams. 

Going into this tournament, the Pirates were on a high, with a 19-0 record. “I have been extremely proud of this team,” said Gracie Furlong ‘25. “We knew we would play some more difficult games, but we were ready for the challenge.” 

On Saturday, the girls competed against Rosary High School, from Aurora Illinois, and Harlem High School, from Machesney Park Illinois. The Pirates won against Rosary 63-44 and Harlem 36-19. “We were very happy to win both of our games on Saturday,” said Gwen Hesselbacher ‘23. “But we knew our hardest competition was going to come on Monday, against Byron. 

The team returned to Byron on Monday to play two more games. In the first game, the Pirates blew past Forreston in a 57-37 win. After that, the team prepared for the game they were waiting for. The Pirates were 22-0 going into the Byron game, which set the record for the most consecutive wins in Galena girls basketball history. 

“This has really been an exciting season so far. There were obviously pretty high expectations coming in and so far the kids have lived up to the hype,” said Coach Jamie Watson. “Being the number one ranked team in the state all season, you know everyone is going to be gunning for you every night. That target on your back only gets bigger as the season goes along, so we have to continue to stay focused and get better every day.” 

The Byron girls’ basketball team is ranked sixth in the 2A Illinois Division. “We knew playing against a team like Byron after a long weekend of games was going to be a challenge,” said Paeton Hyde ‘23.

The beginning of the game started off strong for the Pirates. Their ball movement was great, which opened up many opportunities for easy baskets. Despite that, Byron was able to pull away leading 20-15 after the half. “Although Byron was winning, I knew there was still a large possibility we could take the lead,” said Taylor Burcham ‘24. “It was only a two-possession game at the start of the third quarter.” 

The Pirates were unable to regain a lead and Byron ended up winning 59-42. This was a tough loss for the girls team, as it broke their undefeated record. The Pirates can use this loss to reclaim the motivation they will need later in the post-season. 

“Taking our first loss of the season was definitely tough,” said Addie Hefel ‘24. “But as a team, we are going to use this loss as motivation to work harder and become the best version of our team.” 

As the post-season gets closer the anticipation rises. “We are really looking forward to closing out this regular season and getting to the post-season. There are a lot of good teams out there so we have to be prepared to play every night,” said Coach Jamie Watson. “Expectations remain high and that’s perfectly fine with us. We can’t wait to see where these girls can go!”

Regionals start February 13, 2023, and will be hosted at Galena High School. The schedule is not released at this time but stay on the lookout so you can be there to support!