Sutphen Goes Out with a Bang on Senior Day, Helping Hun Girls’ Hoops Defeat Pingry 57-39
SENIOR LEADER: Hun School girls’ basketball player Leah Sutphen, left, handles the ball in a game last season. This past Saturday, senior forward Sutphen scored eight points to help Hun defeat Pingry 57-39, coming up big as the program held its annual Senior Day celebration. The Raiders, now 9-10, play at Pennington on February 6 before competing in the Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) tournament from February 8-10 at the Peddie School.(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
By Bill Alden
Leah Sutphen was determined to give her all last Saturday, playing in the final home game of her Hun School girls’ basketball career.
“It was a little bit upsetting, but I knew we should make the most of it and I think we did,” said Sutphen, reflecting on the emotions triggered by the ceremony that took part before the Raiders played Pingry.
With 5’6 forward and team co-captain Sutphen providing her usual brand of gritty play in the paint, Hun jumped out to a 26-14 halftime lead on the way to a 57-39 triumph over the Big Blue.
“We had a lot of energy in the warmups and that helped to transition into the game,” said Sutphen, who grabbed three rebounds in the victory as she was honored along with co-captan Jada Jones and Erin Harrigan.
“We stayed consistent with that, so I think that is what helped us pull off the win. We just had to keep our lead and keep our composure. We knew if we did that and stayed tight on defense, it would go well for us and it did.”
Sutphen got involved in the offense, contributing eight points as the Raiders improved to 9-10.
“It was my last game here so might as well take a few shots,” said a smiling Sutphen.
In assessing her time with the Hun hoops program, Sutphen has enjoyed more than a few good moments with her teammates over the years.
“The teams all four years have been super different in ability and the people,” said Sutphen.
“We got PGs a couple of years and they really helped us. I will take away a lot of friendships and a lot of fun times and memories.”
As a three-sport athlete, starring as a soccer goalie in the fall and a record-breaking thrower for the track team in the spring, Sutphen has relished her different athletic pursuits
“It keeps me busy and it keeps me in shape all year round for the next sport that is coming,” said Sutphen, who is hoping to continue her soccer career at the college level.
“It makes my all-around game better because I am always in the mood to compete. I am always with a team, always wanting to win, and get better at whatever is in that season.
Hun head coach Bill Holup was happy to see Sutphen and her classmates go out on a high note in their home finale.
“It is such a touching ceremony; it is so meaningful,” said Holup. “It is great that team rallied around each other. These girls have been fantastic seniors and they will be sorely missed.”
Sophomore guard Kennedy Jardine rallied for the seniors against Pingry, scoring 19 points and getting 11 rebounds.
“Kennedy had a big game. She was much more aggressive in attacking the basket,” said Holup.
“She really stepped up and helped us, especially when Nicole [Angelini] and Jada were both in foul trouble.”
With the Raiders playing at Pennington on February 6 before competing in the Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) tournament from February 8-10 at the Peddie School, Holup is looking for his players to step up down the stretch.
“Pennington is one of the top teams in the area; it is an opportunity to see what we can do against them and help prepare us for the MAPL tournament,” said Holup.
“Blair is the top team in the league and they showed that in the season against everybody in the MAPL but the rest of us are all competitive with each other. I think everybody is beatable and it should make for a really good tournament.”
Sutphen, for her part, is looking to go out with a really good postseason run.
“I think we can compete for titles. It is going to be hard,” said Sutphen.
“If we keep pushing and keep playing with the energy that we had today, then it is definitely possible.”