Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Lakeside Girls Take Part in Special Game of Hoops

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Lakeside Girls Take Part in Special Game of Hoops

Article excerpt

Byline: Tracy Spengler, Clay County Line correspondent

They're popular and tops in their classes when it comes to grades. But if you think these girls would hesitate to battle it out on the basketball court, think again.

Fourteen Lakeside Elementary School sixth-graders came head to head last week in the school's first girls basketball game, played in honor of the 17th annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day.

"These girls are acting like it's the Olympics -- the game of the century," said P.E. coach Kim Tracanna, adding that she is thrilled that the stereotypes for female athletes have changed dramatically in the past three decades. "They've made posters to advertise the game, which can be seen all over the school. They're taking a lot of pride in the event."

The Sweet Shooters and the Lady Lakers had plenty of support, not just from the teachers, coaches, the PFA and their parents, but from cheerleaders as well. But these weren't your typical cheerleaders. In the name of breaking down gender stereotypes, 14 sixth-grade boys volunteered to root for their female counterparts in a ground-breaking experience.

"Those girls out there are every bit as good as the guys," said cheerleader Chad Hoy.

One of Hoy's cohorts, Mike Thomas, had a different opinion.

"They're just out here to see us cheer," Thomas said. "We're the real showstoppers!"

Clad in homemade team jerseys, all attention focused on the girls as they raced up and down the court, hoping to score big.

The score was 8-0 at the end of the first half, with the Lady Lakers leading. The Sweet Shooters gave it their best shot, scoring two baskets in the second half, but the Lady Lakers werewinners with a final score of 14-4.

"It's really not about winning," said Lady Laker Sarah Marlar.

Her teammate, Mallory Wanek, agreed.

"I just really love playing basketball, and this is a great opportunity to play it with my friends," Wanek said. …

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