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Girls Basketball: Rockets make history with first-ever championship

Girls Basketball: Rockets make history with first-ever championship


The Streetsboro girls basketball team poses together after winning the Metro Athletic Conference championship on Wednesday with a dominating victory over Ravenna.
Pauline Dierkens/Portage Sports

By Jacob Shondel


Being a part of history, but also setting a new standard for the Streetsboro girls

basketball team is something coach Carl Singer had visions of.

Ella Kassan takes her turn cutting down the net on Wednesday.
Pauline Dierkens/Portage Sports

Wednesday, the Rockets defeated Ravenna 53-6 to capture the program’s first league championship in school history.

“Coming into the season, I knew we had a special group,” Singer said. “I knew we had a lot

of goals that we could accomplish, and it’s a special group of seniors that we have.

“One of the first groups we’ve had go through the entire youth and middle-school

programs, and just seeing them grow through the years has been exciting.”

Since senior Ella Kassan was a freshman, she wanted to be part of the first team to become Metro Atheltic Conference champions, sharing the 2023-24 title with the Norton Panthers.

“Being able to do this with my best friends is everything,” she said.

For junior Naomi Benson and Kassan, this is “only the beginning.”

“We set the bar for everyone coming after us,” Benson said.

Naomi Benson is all smiles during Wednesday’s postgame championship celebration.
Pauline Dierkens/Portage Sports

“This is only the start, and there’s going to be a lot more,” Kassan said.

Since girls basketball started in Portage County, Streetsboro is 12 out of 12 teams in all-time wins. With Wednesday’s title-clinching victory, the Rockets now own 340 career wins (340-682, .314 win percentage), which is still 59 wins behind Aurora’s 399 all-time wins in 11th place.

This is a new era for the Rockets, though, and Singer hopes this is now the expectation.

“It sets a bar for us where there has never really been one before,” he said. “We’ve been just constantly working to get there, and now this is going to be the expectation going forward.”

Streetsboro started the game by outscoring the Ravens 18-6 in the first quarter.

Ravenna was held scoreless over the next three quarters as the Rockets scored 35 points. The six points scored set a single-game record for Streetsboro for the least points scored against them in a game.

The Streetsboro girls basketball bench erupts in excitement as Wednesday’s game ends and secures the program’s first-ever league championship.
Pauline Dierkens/Portage Sports

Kassan led the way with 16 points, while Benson added 11 points.

Singer’s motivation this season started with his team.

Streetsboro girls basketball head coach Carl Singer reacts after cutting down the net on Wednesday night in celebration of his team’s league championship.
Pauline Dierkens/Portage Sports

“I just wanted it for the girls. They’e put so much time and effort in the last couple of years,” he said. “Their commitment to what we’ve been working towards, I see that in our players now.

“Knowing that they can accomplish these goals that we’re setting for ourselves. I’m just excited for them to see these results.”

For Kassan and Benson, it all started by looking at the banner in the gym that was blank for conference and district championships.

“Seeing that history hasn’t been broken yet,” Benson said. “We got a chance to do that, and we did.”

Commitment and feeling like a family are the main differences for the Rockets this season.

“We’ve had some really good athletes come through here and a couple of really good basketball players,” Singer said. “But to have a majority of our team make basketball a priority, putting that time in the off-season.”

“Our bond and team chemistry is insane,” Benson said. “This is like my second family, and we all have that connection of a sister.”

Streetsboro will now shift its focus to the state tournament.

Cara Tiller holds up her piece of the net during the Rockets’ postgame championship celebration!
Pauline Dierkens/Portage Sports

“We’ve accomplished a lot of our goals,” Singer said. “But with tournament time coming up, we have a whole nother set of goals that we want to accomplish.”

“I’m a senior, and I’m not ready for the season to end,” Kassan said.

Last season, the Rockets came up short of their goals in the tournament, but Singer hopes this goal gives extra motivation.

“We had a bar set high for us, and we came up a little short of what we wanted a year ago,” he said. “I think accomplishing this goal gives us that realization that we are that team, and we are capable of winning those games.”

Streetsboro High School principal Brett McCann (right) and athletic director Randy Tevepaugh (left) present Rockets head coach Carl Singer and his girls basketball team with a plaque recognizing the team’s Metro Athletic Conference championship.
Pauline Dierkens/Portage Sports

Streetsboro girls basketball players (from left) Carlee Bedford, Naomi Benson and Kaileigh Lilly celebrate on Wednesday.
Natalie Queen/Portage Sports

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