COLUMBIA — The Fr. Tolton High School girls basketball team had no trouble beating the Fulton School Eagles on Friday night, winning the game 25-14 in a defensive show filled with steals, loose balls and plenty of players hitting the floor.
But without a roster, one wouldn't have known that the Fr. Tolton Trailblazers is a team of nine freshmen and one sophomore, and the Eagles team they played against was the Fulton school's varsity team.
Despite having an enrollment of only 71 students, the Trailblazers have two girls junior varsity basketball teams totaling 18 students, 17 of them freshmen. With no other Catholic high schools in the area, they’ve had to schedule anyone they can play and are 11-6 on the season so far.
Trailblazers Coach Doug Sain said he and Athletics Director Chad Masters worked hard to make a full season for the teams and ended up scheduling 23 games for each team to play.
"We'll play anyone we can," Sain said. "We just want to get games so the kids can get experience and play together."
"They just like playing," Masters said. "They don't care who it is against. They just like playing basketball."
Freshman River Remis led the Traiblazers with 14 points. That matched the total score of the Fulton School. She said she has enjoyed getting to know her teammates, who came from a total of eight different lower schools.
“Going up against varsity teams, it's been pretty tough, but it's been fun," Remis said.
Next year, Fr. Tolton High School will bring in a new class of freshmen, but the oldest students in the building will still be a small group of juniors.
“Next year they’ll be the real deal just like anyone else,” Masters said. “They’ll basically be a bunch of sophomores playing varsity.”
Even with a young varsity team going into next year, Sain is focused on getting the girls ready to go up against the competition.
“What we’re stressing is toughness and intensity,” Sain said. “We’re going to be the team we want to be, and we’re going to play really, really hard.”