NEWARK — As the final minute approached in Ursuline’s 53-41 basketball state championship win over Caravel Academy on March 13, coach John Noonan began emptying his bench, allowing his starters to exit the court to loud ovations from their fellow students and the large contingent of Raiders fans. Kailyn Kampert left the court with Alisha Lewis, Maggie Connolly and Kryshell Gordy, with smiles and high fives all around.
At the next stoppage of play, it was Adrianna Hahn’s turn. Noonan greeted his five-year starter with a hug, one of many she would receive as the seconds ticked off the clock. The Raiders supporters rose to their feet. Later, as Queen’s “We Are the Champions” filled the Carpenter Center, Hahn assessed the present, while a few of the returning Raiders looked toward the future.
“It has gone by so fast,” said Hahn, who had 29 points in the final. “I remember my first game as an eighth-grader against Charter, and now I’m holding the state championship as a senior ready to go to Villanova in June. I can’t thank my coaches and teammates enough for everything that they’ve done for me. It’s been a great ride.”
It was Ursuline’s 15th state title and first since 2012, Hahn’s freshman year.
She savored the moment with fellow seniors Courtney Wallace, Lindsay Russell, Maddie Hughes and the injured Dakota Raymond. The team that succeeds them at Ursuline should be in decent shape, as four starters are scheduled to be back, as is Alyssa Irons, which is not great news for the rest of the schools looking to take their crown. Kampert will enter her fifth year on the varsity in 2015-16. She, Sabriya Harris and Irons will be the seniors next season and the obvious leaders. Kampert is ready.
“It’s really exciting. I’ve grown up watching Ursuline basketball. It was such an honor to play with Adrianna, and we’re obviously going to miss her next year. I think a lot of the underclassmen have to step up and help me out and help Alyssa out because it’s such a team game,” she said.
Hahn, she continued, brought a certain intensity to the program. “She’s such a hard worker. Her work ethic is insane. I think how hard she works, how good of a teammate she is, she really encouraged me to be a better player.”
Kryshell Gordy will be a junior and Maggie Connolly a sophomore. Eighth-grader Alisha Lewis made her mark on the high school basketball scene this year and is one of a handful of players in Delaware who, like Hahn, Connolly and Kampert, is on track to play five years. Lewis said she was fortunate to have Hahn as a role model this past season.
“It was amazing. She taught me a lot of things – how to be a leader, just supporting everyone on the court, listening,” she said.
Lewis said she understands the pressure that comes with playing basketball at Ursuline. The history and winning expectations follow the players all season. She is confident that the teams of the next few years will be able to maintain the standard. The future, she said, “looks pretty good so far.”