Brother and sister help lead Galeton basketball into districts
When the season started Latascia Shadle thought things would be different for the Galeton girls' basketball team.
With a lot of returning talent on the team, she knew they would be improved from last year. However, she couldn't have imagined just how far the team would come after winning three games a year ago.
With a young team, Dakota Shadle had a feeling the boys' squad was just going to continue to get better and better.
They had some big goals when the year began, but even they didn't think that the program would make this kind of history.
Both the Galeton boys and girls teams had high hopes this year. All of the players envisioned making it to districts for the first time in their careers and that's exactly what happened.
For the first time since 1985 the Galeton boys and girls will each play into districts and a brother and sister are a big part of the reason why.
For the boys Dakota is averaging a team-high 16.2 points a contest, while on the girls side Latascia leads the team at 14.2 a game.
"It's going to be a lot of fun," Dakota said of qualifying for districts. "We have a lot of underclassmen to help us out going into districts."
For Latascia this is a big change from a three-win season a year ago.
"I think it's pretty exciting," she said. "I have never been there before. It was pretty cool. I knew we would do pretty good this year."
A lot has changed for the Galeton teams this year as they left the NTL West after last year and play an independent schedule.
"It was kind of weird, we haven't played with these teams," Latascia said. "We usually play within the Northern Tier League. I am used to knowing how they play."
One of the challenges of playing a different schedule is not knowing as much about your opponents.
"It was kind of hard to tell who is good and who is not," Dakota said.
However, the one advantage is that your opponent also doesn't know as much about you.
"I like how they don't know what to take away from us," Latascia said.
Making it to districts was a goal for the two teams since the beginning of the year.
"Our very first practice we set districts as a goal," Dakota said.
And the fact that both the boys and girls teams have made it makes it extra special in the Shadle home.
"It's nice so we can cheer on the boys," Latascia said. "It's pretty cool."
Making districts for either team would have been special, but Latascia knows it was better for her and her brother that they both made it.
"If just one of us went to districts the other probably would have been jealous," she said.
While it's a big accomplishment for the sophomore Latascia and junior Dakota to lead their teams to districts, it is something they have been working toward.
"It is pretty cool, but we have worked hard at it," Latascia said.
Both teams are full of underclassmen and the players know they are improving.
"We are getting better and better every time we play," Dakota said.
And with so many younger players both hope that making it to districts is something they can do again next year.
"I hope we do great next year to," Dakota said.
"I think our best season will be next year because they (her teammates) will all be seniors and then my senior year I will be able to play with my sister," Latascia said.
And the idea of teaming up with her sister in a couple years is something Latascia knows will be fun.
"It will probably be pretty intense because we are kind of competitive with each other," she said. "It will be kind of interesting."
Right now Latascia and Dakota are fairly competitive to and the younger sister has tried to outscore her older brother at times this year.
"I try and beat him, but it doesn't work sometimes," she said. "But, sometimes it does."
For both players the idea of districts is exciting, but also a little scary.
"It's going to be great, I hope it's exciting and I hope we get our first districts win," Dakota said.
"It is really exciting, but kind of nerve wracking to," Latascia said.
And, after playing some of the Class A teams they could meet in districts this year, Latascia knows that her team has an idea of what to expect.
"I think if we go there we have a chance of winning, but we have to play our hearts out," she said. "We can't sit back and relax."
The idea that maybe the Galeton boys and girls could wind up playing at the same place for their first district game is something thata Dakota knows would be special.
"That would be really great for our school," he said. "It would be easier for people."
No matter what happens in districts, both Dakota and Latascia know their teams have already made history.
"It's pretty cool, people will always remember that we went to districts," Latascia said.
And, Dakota hopes that maybe it will help get more kids interested in basketball at Galeton.
"I hope it will because of the success we are having," he said.