Who Runs the Town? Coach Drayton’s Girls Basketball Team.

Celeste Wetmore, Staff Reporter

Our school’s girls basketball team, headed by Coach of the Year Devaughn Drayton and senior captains Ana Bournigal, Emma Nelsen and Molly Kaufman, achieved unprecedented success during this year’s season. Thanks to their unique team camaraderie and hard work, the girls will go down in history for winning our school’s first district championship in girls basketball. 

This significant accomplishment did not come easily. After a preseason full of weightlifting, running and conditioning, the players continued to pour effort into daily practices. Although winning was undoubtedly on every player’s mind, Drayton continued to remind the girls about another equally important aspect of the game.

“Sometimes you forget about the most important part of sports, which is having fun,” Drayton said. 

Other than enjoying the game of basketball, Drayton and his team aimed to qualify for states after dominating the Liberty District and lifting that championship trophy. The fulfillment of the latter goal was thrilling yet expected for the team. 

“We beat every team in the conference, and we were kind of expecting that going in…. This year I feel like we were the team that had the best players,” senior captain Emma Nelsen said.

The unsurprising win was a result of preseason preparation as well as a unique team bond.   

“There was no separation between classes, which I feel like happens on a lot of high school teams. We were all one big family,” Bournigal said.

Among the group, Bournigal stood out as a player who excelled this season.

“Ana Bournigal was our star player, and she got robbed of player of the year,” Nelsen said.

The close dynamic of the team was a distinguishable characteristic that has not been seen in previous years. Nelsen, who has been involved with the team since her freshman year, noticed this difference.

“The team felt much closer this year and more connected,” Nelsen said.

Between this relationship and the district championship victory, there is a lot for Drayton to be proud of. Likewise, the players are happy to see their coach recognized for his performance this season.   

“He deserves it because he puts so much time and effort into watching game film and then translating that into our practices,” Bournigal said.

Along with the vigor he puts into coaching, Drayton makes a point to make an impression among Yorktown’s student body. The native Arlingtonian recalled the difference that supportive adults had on his life; most importantly, Drayton looked up to his coaches.

“I hope I have that effect on somebody else,” Drayton said.

Drayton’s commitment to Yorktown athletes and emphasis on having a positive mindset make him an exemplary Coach of the Year. His group’s bond is also one that our school can only hope to see in more teams. 

“Winning is good, but to sit back and see them laugh, joke and take care of one another: those are the things that make me feel that this group was special,” Drayton said.

The 2021-2022 girls basketball team has left our school with much to celebrate, and its legacy will continue to inspire athletes and coaches in coming years. 

“Winning the first championship in school history feels great because, no matter what, the kids will be able to come back in 15 or 20 years and look in the gym and see the banner in the rafters,” Drayton said.