Senior Cassidy Gardner reflects on her team’s day at the beach
Note: The Prairie girls basketball team flew to California in search of new competition last week, playing in the Surf N Slam San Diego Hoop Classic. We have asked the three seniors on the team to give us a little glimpse into the trip with this three-part series. Today, we hear from Cassidy Gardner, a Portland State signee.
The Prairie Falcons got better, and then they got some sun.
“Obviously, we’re here for basketball. At the same time, we wanted to have fun, have a good time,” Cassidy Gardner said.
The Prairie girls basketball team, scheduled to fly home Monday, went 2-1 in the Surf N Slam San Diego Hoop Classic, finishing third in its bracket. Then the Falcons went dancing Saturday night and relaxed on Sunday with a day at Mission Beach and a meal at In n Out Burger.
“We wanted to end on a win on Saturday and have a good fun Sunday to end the trip,” said Gardner, a senior on the team.
Mission (Beach) accomplished.
For Gardner, Mallory Williams, and Brooke Walling, this was the final out-of-state road trip as high school basketball players.
“We went on a Christmas trip every year,” Gardner said. “We really wanted this to be fun.”
As a basketball team, Gardner said there really is not a most valuable player. These Falcons all support each other.
Off the court, though, Gardner said Kendyl Carson shined in San Diego. From her karaoke performances earlier in the trip to her dancing Saturday night, and then her adventures on a rented scooter at the beach Sunday.
“She rode that for like three hours straight,” Gardner said.
“She was just up in front of everyone, doing everything.”
Sounds like she was just following orders. The Falcons lost to one of the top programs in the country on Friday but bounced back with a solid performance in a victory Saturday. The plan was simple:
“Let’s give it our all, let’s go out on a win, and let’s have a good rest of the trip,” Gardner said.
The Falcons did just that.
Walling scored 21 points, while Gardner and Carson each scored nine. Williams added eight points as Prairie rolled to a 68-37 win over La Costa Canyon
“We all just wanted to share the ball. We just want to see each other be successful more than ourselves,” Gardner said. “We don’t care who scores. When our defense is good, it leads to us scoring on offense.
“Even though we lost on Friday, we had a great second half. On Saturday, we proved to ourselves what we could do. We ended on a good note.”
Basketball-wise, it was a learning experience, too.
“It showed us how good we can be if we’re all bought in,” Gardner said. “This trip was much needed. We know what we need to work at. It opened our eyes to how good we can be if we’re all playing together. Now we’re just focused on being successful the rest of the season.”
The Falcons have more than a week before their next game. They started this mini-break with a dance at the tournament’s hotel on Saturday night, then a day at the beach Sunday.
There was shopping, scooters, and a few Falcons rented wetsuits and went boogie boarding.
Playing in the tournament is a way for this team to better itself, to prepare for a postseason run in late February and into early March.
Hanging out together away from the court, though, is what will make this journey even more memorable.
The Falcons have gone to Phoenix, then northern California for two trips, and now San Diego in Gardner’s four holiday tournaments.
“For me, it’s my favorite trip,” Gardner said.
The final one, too, for Gardner, Walling, and Williams.