Spartans dynamic trio

Posted at: 02/07/2013 5:17 PM
Updated at: 02/08/2013 5:38 PM
By: Robin De Wind

The high school basketball season is winding down but News10NBC wants to introduce you to a team that continues to rise in the rankings.

There's something to be said for chemistry and the Gates Chili girls’ basketball team has plenty of it. They are led by a trio of girls who know what each other is going to do because they've been doing it on the court since elementary school.

They have been building a bond since the fifth grade, youth leagues, JV and now Varsity. Senior Kori Bayne-Walker and juniors Cierra Dillard and Diona Johnson have grown up together around the game of basketball. Hours in the gym paying off in big ways.

Three years ago, Bayne-Walker and Dillard helped the Spartans to the sectionals finals. The next year Johnson added to the trio and the team won a sectional title, losing in the state finals. Last season the team lost in sectionals to Penfield.

The Spartans sit at 15-0 and are ranked seventh in the state with a recent big win over Penfield.

Coach Tara Graziadei said, “We don't look at beating Penfield as being our goal. We will have to see them in the finals and other teams we have to beat. We're still the underdog not the top dog.”

A change in Monroe County from three divisions to four has opened up new opportunities for the girls to play out of section teams from the Syracuse area, Quebec and Horseheads.

It hasn't phased this group who has passed every test. Junior Cierra Dillard said, “It's different defenses. Some may not know as much about our team as in Section V. It does help us to see other defenses in New York State.

The Spartans have a real chance to make this a season to remember. Bayne-Walker heads to Stony Brook next year on a full D1 scholarship. She wants to lead the team and the teammates who helped get her there. “Each of us is better, stronger and it's starting to play out.”

Gates Chili has three regular season games left before sectionals start and the ladies say they are focused on getting back a sectional title.