The most important basket of the entire CIAC girls basketball season was scored Thursday night at Woodland by senior Danie Meder.
Meder was making her first varsity start on senior night, scoring the basket on a layup on Woodland’s opening possession of the game following an uncontested basket by Seymour off the opening tip.
Last night was a special night.. senior night but more importantly Danie Meder’s 1st Varsity minutes and points. Danie has a brain condition which in the last 4 years she received 2 brain surgeries.. she stayed the course and her she is.. Enjoy #daniestrong #hawkpride love ya Dan pic.twitter.com/F2EajefTTO
— Hawks Basketball (@wrhsgbball) February 14, 2020
Meder was born missing part of her brain and for the last 10 years suffered through as many 100 seizures a day.
She has undergone two brain surgeries over the last four years and has been seizure free since.
During her time in high school, Meder has been a part of the varsity and junior varsity basketball teams
Woodland coach Jessica Moffo made arrangements with Seymour to get Meder a basket in Thursday’s game. The plan was kept secret from Meder.
“She did not know she was going in the game,” Moffo said. “I previously talked to Coach (Brian) Cleveland on the phone and asked if we would mind and he said no whatever we needed. He and his team were great about it. When we told her she was going in the game and getting announced she Just said, ‘OK Coach Moffo.’ You can tell she was excited and happy.”
The Woodland players have experienced Meder’s struggles firsthand.
“Danie Meder means a lot to the Woodland community and to me and the team. The other seniors have witnessed and experienced her troubles over the last six years or so,” Moffo said. “They have witnessed it all. She would have bad seizures during practices where players have sprinted to catch her and lay her on the ground. So, for her to go from that state where she couldn’t be touched to seizure free basically today after two brain surgeries is just amazing. The girls have always been team players and made her feel a part of the team. Some practices would be tough with certain things we are doing all together but the girls always took it in stride. For myself. Danie has made me a better person. Better coach. You look at life a little different when you witness stuff like this. I know I do.”
For anyone who questions the importance of sports and being a part of a team, remember Meder’s story.
“Being a Woodland Hawk for Danie has helped her in every way possible,” Moffo said. “She was able to feel a part of something and some sense of normalcy. The normal things we do on a daily basis she cannot, due to her condition and a safety issue. Her being part of the team and around the other players I think helped her feel special and part of something.”
ABBOTT TECH’S TURNAROUND
Which team will finish with the best regular season record is yet to be decided as 18-1 Abbott Tech and 17-1 Notre Dame (Class L) and East Hampton (Class S) each have games remaining, this week.
If the three win out, they will be the top seeds in their respective state classes.
The biggest surprise on that list is Abbott Tech, which is in line for a top seed one season after finishing 10-10.
“It is obviously a great accomplishment for us and the school, however once the matchups have been finalized, you can throw out all seedings,” Abbott Tech coach Chris Pace said. “We need to show up and give our best in order to advance deep into the tournament. Once again we will take it one game at a time.”
The Wolverines host Wolcott Tech (13-6), Tuesday at 6 p.m., a team they beat 49-40 on Jan. 21.
The key to Abbott’s success this year has been getting contributions from a variety of players.
Four-year starter Iyana Barnes is closing in on 1,000 points for her career and leads the team in scoring while seniors Estefany Casteneda and Emily Sierra have both had games which they led the way.
Sophomore Tavahnnarie Sok has emerged as a consistent threat to knock down 3-pointers.
“One of our biggest strengths this season has been the contribution we have got from everyone within the program,” Pace said. “We have had so many games where a variety of players have stepped up for us this season. It been a total team effort each game.”
The signature win for the Wolverines came against CTC rival Bullard Havens 66-52 on Feb. 7. They had lost to Bullard Havens 53-42 On Jan. 10, for their only loss.
In the win over Bullard Havens, Abbott rallied from down 18 points in the biggest win of the year, so far.
“It was huge! For both the program and school. But more important than being able to knock off one of the league’s top programs, is the growth and development these girls have made throughout the season,” Pace said. “They showed so much heart and pride to go out in complete with Bullard who we previously lost to earlier in the season. After going down 18 points early, the girls never gave up. They never lost faith in one another and what we want to accomplish as a program. It was one of the proudest comebacks I have been part of.”
Two weeks after losing 101-35 to East Hampton, the Hale Ray girls basketball team forfeited their scheduled Shoreline Conference rematch with East Hampton, Monday.
“It wasn’t an easy decision,” Hale Ray coach Karen Sweet told Lori Riley of the Hartford Courant, “It wasn’t mine wholly to make. The administration on both sides made a decision on what was best for everybody. “It was an unfortunate situation that happened. For me, it wasn’t in the best interest of my players [to play Monday’s game].”
Hale Ray is 5-13 this season and under the new CIAC tournament rules, will likely qualify for the Class S Tournament.
East Hampton is currently the No. 1 seed in Class S.