Nine girls youth basketball players in the county were part of a special team that won a regional championship this summer.
Skai Bayless, Trinity Lindblade, Alisa Ortiz, Jasmyn Wilson, Riley Samuda, Gabriella Stefanic, Dhynesty Sommerville, Lamaria Estridge and Samantha Orndorff played for Team Takeover 2024 Orange, a Washington-based team that won the recent East Coast Nationals in Spooky Nook, Pennsylvania.
“Spooky Nook was a lot of fun,” Lindblade said in an email. “There were so many courts and so many teams. Winning there felt amazing because it was a hard-earned victory against a team that previously had beaten us. Our team had been working hard to be able to accomplish that goal.”
Team Takeover went 4-0 in the tournament, defeating the Maryland Hurricanes 45-10, the Shooting Stars 27-14, the Positive Direction 44-27 and the Staten Island Diamonds in the championship game 33-29.
“Every game presented us with different challenges,” Team Takeover coach Jose Ortiz said. “But at the end of the day, it was our defense throughout the tournament that made the difference, outscoring our opponents 116-51 in the first three games.”
The win over the Diamonds avenged a loss in a previous tournament in Philadelphia, Ortiz said. The Diamonds won that game by 15 points.
“Our victory at the East Coast Nationals demonstrated how far we came as a team,” Ortiz said.
Team Takeover 2024 Orange also went undefeated through five games to win the Fairfax Stars Summer Spectacular. During the East Coast Nationals, the team faced tough teams from around the region, which stretched as far as New York.
“It was a blessing for me to be able to be part of this team because we were not just a team, but we were a family,” Lindblade said. “Team Takeover has helped me learn so much this season. Everyone on the team was very respectful, kind-hearted and uplifting.”
Mid-Maryland Girls Basketball has been a long-established youth basketball feeder system into the local high schools. The league has also contributed to the recent success of Team Takeover, especially when it comes to actual game experience.
“I wouldn’t say that I was surprised [at how well we played], based on how the girls had been playing up to that point,” Ortiz said. “It was a good win for us to win another Nike programs tournament.”
This was Lindblade’s first year as a member of Team Takeover. “I have played two years of Mid-Maryland Basketball,” she said. “I played JV my sixth-grade year and varsity my seventh-grade year at Walkersville. Team Takeover was an overall great experience and provided me with so many opportunities.”