The Sparta Girls Basketball Team had an epic season. Under the tutelage of 10-year Sparta coach Cathy Wille, the girls won their second straight Hunterdon/Warren/Sussex title, a Group Three Championship, and 27 victories.
Their run came to an end last Friday when they faced the powerful St. John Vianney, the number one team in the state, in the Tournament of Champions semifinals.
“It was a phenomenal season and an extremely gallant effort against St. John Vianney,” Wille said. “These girls have been playing as such a strong unit for a number of years and are all from right here in town. Our school doesn’t recruit, so we play with who comes out for the team and this is certainly a talented and special group of young ladies.”
Wille is also in her 28th year teaching health and physical education at Sparta High School.
“The girls on our team should be so proud,” she said. “It was literally a dream season.”
She applauds all of the girls on the team and acknowledged several players.
“Brynn McCurry is one of our forwards, and she averages 23 points per game,” Wille said. “As a junior she’s already being recruited all over. Our point guard, Ally Sweeney is also a junior and has already verbally committed to the University of Richmond.”
Brynn said she’s been playing with these girls since third grade, “and the team chemistry we have just helps us succeed at another level,. Being best friends on and off the court is one of the reasons we were so successful. We know each other’s roles on the floor, and the unselfish style of basketball that we play is a huge part of our game.”
Brynn’s mom, Colleen, applauds her daughter’s work ethic.
“We are very proud of the hard work that Brynn has put in towards achieving her academic and athletic goals,” she said. “She is very excited at the prospect of competing in basketball as a Division 1 student/athlete. She has several great scholarship opportunities that span across the conference such as the Big East, ACC, Patriot and Ivy leagues.”
Ally feels the team is a very special group.
“There’s nobody I’d rather be playing with than this group of girls,” she said. “We’d do anything for each other on and off the court, and I’d like to believe that shows when we play. Playing with your best friends is an opportunity that everybody should get to experience. It’s overlooked until you actually get to do it and realize firsthand how amazing it feels.”
Ally said winning a Group State title together is something they’ve been talking about since they were about eight years old. “To finally happen, it’s everything we could have asked for,” she said. “There was so much adversity this season that we overcame. Every time something happened to make somebody think our season was over, we made them think again. That’s how we were taught to play, so although we went out on a loss, this season is something we’ll forever be proud of.”
Wille said this is the first time a Sparta Girl’s team has achieved this level of accomplishment since 2001.
“This team truly put Sparta back on the basketball map,” she said.
“Playing with your best friends is an opportunity that everybody should get to experience. It’s overlooked until you actually get to do it and realize firsthand how amazing it feels.” Ally Sweeney