Madison girls’ basketball begins title defense

Claire Moeser, Sports Editor

This year’s seniors brought considerable success to Madison’s Girls Basketball program. As freshmen they were Concorde District and Region 6D champions. The following year they were the 2020 Co-State champions after the season ended during playoffs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, they were state champions. They have also accumulated many All-District, All-Region and All-State honors. The team is experienced, led by eight seniors, including Mia Chapman (’22), a forward who was an integral part to last year’s State champion team. 

“We have been in the state tournament for the past two years,” Mia Chapman said. “A three-peat is in the back of all of our minds, but our goal is to work hard in practice and focus on one game at a time. We want to hold ourselves to a high standard of play and get better every day.”

The team has a competitive non-conference schedule, including Elizabeth Seton from Maryland and Maret from Washington, D.C. The Warhawks are working toward maintaining their dominance over the Concorde District and having a long run in the playoffs. Over winter break, they will be playing in a tournament at Fairfax High School.

The Warhawks opened the season with a win at George C. Marshall High School. The final score was 60-24. After graduating one senior, the team is returning 11 players from last year’s State championship team. Concorde District play begins on Jan. 11 against the Chantilly Chargers. Madison has won the Concorde District for the past three years.

Many of the players plan to continue their basketball careers in college. Grace Arnolie (’22) will play Division I basketball for Brown University. Her twin sister Alayna Arnolie (’22) will play Division III Basketball for Gettysburg College. Chapman will play Division III basketball for Dickinson College. Emily Lockhard (’22) will play Division III basketball for McDaniel College. Lockhard, Chapman and Alayna Arnolie will play in the Centennial Conference. They are excited to maintain their high school connection in college by competing against each other twice a season.

Sisterhood runs deep in the team on and off the court. The team is coached by head coach Kirsten Stone and her sister, assistant coach Meredith Renard. Grace Arnolie and Alayna Arnolie grew up playing with teammates Katie Koshuta and Jill Koshuta, the other pair of twin sisters on the team. 

“Gracie and I have grown up playing basketball, lacrosse and soccer with the Koshuta twins,” Alayna Arnolie said. “We have good chemistry on the court and know each other’s strengths and weaknesses.”

The team credits part of their success to the relationships they have created on and off the court.

“Over the past four years we created a family on the team,” assistant coach Marit Rowland said. “They understand each other on a deeper level, which definitely gives us an advantage. Hopefully the sophomores and juniors will begin to understand the sense of community we built and to continue it in the upcoming years.”

The coaches and the players hold the same importance to the family on the team.

“We value connection and trust,” Grace Arnolie said. “If we are all friends off the court it will transfer to when we play and improve our connections and communication on the court. The sisterhood and family we have built makes us stronger.”

The depth does not end at family connections. The team has strong players in all positions, which means the team can score from all positions on the court.

“I have watched them grow up, from coming to my basketball camps as seven year olds to playing for me as seniors in high school,” Head Coach Kristen Stone said. “They changed my program when they came in as freshmen. Their work ethic is one of the reasons they have lost so few games. They give 100% every game and every practice.”