Alana Lacombe knew from the start of the season there would be no hanging a banner in February.
She knew during tryouts her team wasn’t expected to even qualify for the playoffs.
And now that the Little Flower High School basketball team has played all of the teams it would be competitive against, it’s more than likely the Sentinels will finish Catholic League play without a victory.
But she also knows she couldn’t be prouder of her team.
Lacombe is a senior point guard on the Sentinels and, at 0-12 with games remaining against teams atop the division, Little Flower’s season won’t result in a win, but from where their leader sits, it’s far from an unsuccessful season.
“We are a team of neighborhood girls and we’re just out there to have fun and represent our school,” said Lacombe, who lives in Parkwood. “We work hard. The Catholic League is really good, and we’re playing hard against them. It’s tough, but we don’t let it get us down or anything. We knew what it was going in.
“We’re getting better and everything. We’re playing hard. It’s not because we’re not trying or we’re not good. We’re playing good teams and we’re not as good as them.”
It’s not lack of trying.
And that shows when the girls are on the court.
Lacombe, who has been on the team since she arrived at Little Flower, loves being a part of the squad because the team takes pride in its game. The girls are skilled players, but when your schedule includes games against the top teams in Southeastern Pennsylvania, wins are hard to come by.
This year has been a work in progress, and new coach Maureen Klose has the team prepared. And the most important thing is the girls are having a great time no matter what the results are.
“We love Coach Klose, she’s like a second mom to all of us,” said Lacombe, who also plays volleyball. “And we have a great time, the team. We do fun things like pasta parties and we love being around each other. The season has been great.”
And make no mistake about it, the Sentinels can play.
Led by a savvy point guard who knows how to play in the Catholic League, Lacombe does her part to lead the team on and off the court. It’s a tough job considering the opposition, but it’s one she enjoys.
“It’s fun to play good teams because you get better that way,” Lacombe said. “Every game when we play teams like the ones from the suburbs and even some of the (city) teams, they have good players. We get better by playing them.
“We had some close games. And even when it’s not close, you can see us get better. I like being the point guard because I like being the leader and helping everyone get better. Next year, they should be even better because the leagues are breaking up and they’ll have easier games, and they’ll be better, too.”
Lacombe is a natural leader.
When she’s not running the offense, she’s in the classroom serving as a homeroom representative.
“You just get the mail and do things like that,” Lacombe said. “It’s good, I just did it my senior year. They vote in homeroom and picked me.”
She hopes to be successful in the classroom for a long time to come.
Next year, she plans on going to Community College of Philadelphia for two years before transferring to another school to get her degree. The plan is to eventually become a teacher. She already has good practice working with kids.
“I love working with kids, I do it all summer where I work as a camp counselor (in Somerton),” Lacombe said. “When I was a freshman, I worked as a lifeguard and after that I’ve done everything else. It’s a great job. For the most part, the kids are really, really good. We have a lot of fun.
“I think being a teacher, especially for younger kids, would be a great job. It’s something I can see myself doing.”
She looks forward to the future, but she’ll always miss her days at Little Flower.
She felt at home when she went on her first visit to the school and ever since it’s been exactly where she wants to be.
Which is probably why she loves representing the school on the hardwood so much, no matter what the result is.
“We’re proud of what we do,” Lacombe said. “It’s tough when you’re not winning, but we don’t think about it. We go to practice and go to games and have fun. Nobody thinks about quitting or not working. We love it. We love playing here.”