Jacob Connealy and Rebekah Menzel, class ‘07 are back on the court, this time coaching the 6th grade girls team. This is their first-year. Theirs is a long history that started at St. Mary’s as told by Rebekah.
Jake and I hold each other’s award for ‘Oldest and Longest Classmate’ (we went Pre-K-8th grade together at St. Mary’s and then went on to our respective high schools of Mercy and Mt. Michael and then both went down to Benedictine in Atchison, KS for college) so needless to say, we’re St. Mary’s Bellevue friends, born and raised.
Although neither of us ended up in the NBA or WNBA (which, I really think they missed out on my height advantage) we were both pretty feisty ball players back at St. Mary’s. My basketball coaches at St. Mary’s were a huge influence on my love of the game.
Carol Lowe and Sam were tough on us, with constant shooting, dribbling, and running drills. But they taught us how to use our scrappiness to our advantage and to think. They led our combined team of 6th 7th and 8thgraders to the top, with our victory against Sacred Heart in the final game of the March Madness Tournament at Gross Catholic. (Which we still talk about, as if they were the glory days of winning Olympic Gold. They’re comparable.) But most importantly, they taught us how to be competitive but good sports, work together as a team, and to play basketball. And that’s what (or rather who) inspired me to coach at St. Mary’s. Jake and I had been talking about how it’d be fun to coach a team, and with his sister Maria in 6th grade, an opportunity arose. (It was a no brainer, as we both grew up with this huge, positive, St. Mary’s family that taught us the importance of using our gifts to serve others, so of course we’d love to coach a team!) We’ve been working with the girls for about 2 months now, and I’m impressed with their improvement. Basketball is a tough game; it takes quick thinking and constant determination. They had great coaches before us, and so we’re trying to build off that this year by practicing fundamentals, learning how to see the court, and having intensity. The girls have been shining in our most recent games. With a victory against Christ the King, and a nail biting loss against St. Thomas More (21 to 22) they’re getting more comfortable and confident on the court, and we can’t wait to see how the season continues.
St. Mary’s Athletic Director, Jennifer Kreps says, “They are doing a great job teaching the girls not only how to play but what good Christian sportsmanship is about on and off the court.” For more photos click here.