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Led by its seniors, Goochland girls basketball team finds ways to bond on the floor

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It may have been a tough season in regards to wins and losses for the Goochland girls basketball team (1-19), but morale always seemed to be at an all-time high for the Bulldogs.

That in large part stems from the leadership of the team’s three seniors in Alexandra Beianu, Chelsey Farthing and Dakota Higgs. Head coach Warren Kempf says the girls put in a ton of effort to keep the team focused on improving over the course of the season, regardless of the result on the scoreboard.

“All three of our students are great people and just hardworking kids that came to everything with great attitudes,” Kempf said. “For a team that didn’t have much on-court success, we had tremendous amounts of off-court success.”

Even during the toughest of games, Kempf says there were never any heads held down, no in-fighting or drama. It was instead just a group that got along well, understood the necessary sacrifices to improve and constantly uplifted each other throughout the year.

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Higgs was one of three returning players for the Bulldogs, bringing with her four years of experience on the floor that benefitted the team in practice and during games. A team captain, she was tasked with steering the ship and setting the tone as a role model for her teammates.

Farthing, a standout softball player at Goochland, was in her first season of basketball this season, turning into one of the team’s most reliable shooters on the offensive end. Though a newcomer to the team, Kempf says Farthing was a vocal figure on the team that made his job easy as a coachable presence.

“She really added an element that we didn’t have in terms of her offensive ability,” Kempf said.

Farthing will get another senior night later this year when she gets honored as a member of the softball team, adding another emotional night for a well-respected student-athlete.

Beianu was in her first year of organized basketball, joining the team as an exchange student from Romania. With a background as a swimmer, Beianu gave basketball a try for the first time while also balancing an impressive academic background. Along with her role on the basketball team, she’s also a member of the school’s Scholastic Bowl team while also balancing swimming on top of that.

She first showed interest in basketball when she came to multiple open gym practices during the fall, later making the team despite having little experience with the sport. With the experience she did have, as well as her athletic background, she quickly developed into a reliable rebounder while using her smarts to quickly pick up on the game’s Xs and Os.

“She’s a super good person and ridiculously smart. I could draw something up on the board, and she could run it right away,” Kempf said.

The team’s lone victory was a highlight for everyone involved, as the team traveled down to Appomattox to take on the Dragons on Jan. 11. The Bulldogs won that game 29-11, led by the scoring of Farthing and junior Kyndall Shapiro. It was the type of victory that the team looks back on as a testament to the work they put in.

Even though the season’s over, the girls are already missing the routine that came with the season. Kempf says girls are already asking him when they can plan a team hangout or another session of hoops.

“I think they developed a bond that will keep them close,” Kempf said. “I can see this group not seeing each other for a couple years and picking up right where they left off.”

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