While all the players in this year’s Section VI Basketball Tournament are hungry for victory, the Holland girls spent some time this season with people who were just plain hungry.
The Dutchwomen got an unexpected day off because of a game change and used it to do some volunteer work at the Buffalo City Mission on East Tupper. Buffalo City Mission’s vision is to restore hope to the homeless. They provide emergency shelter and nourishing meals to thousands of homeless men, women and children.
First-year Holland principal, Carl Guidotti, had worked for the Mission in the past so he provided coach Dan Parker with a contact person. During their three- to four-hour stay, leaving after school, they got a tour of the Mission and among other things helped them organize their food pantries.
“I feel like some things we take for granted, and going down there made you realize how lucky we are to have food and shelter, and it gives you a new perspective, and it was awesome to do it with my teammates,” said Holland guard and co-captain Abby Schmidt. “We were mostly in the basement area, but we did see some residents. We didn’t really talk to them much other than to say hi, but they seemed happy to see us, and everyone we did talk to was very welcoming.”
For Parker, who drove the girls up along with some parents, it was something he had wanted to do with his team for a while. The game change was the opening he had been looking for.
“As much as they are into basketball, they realize there is life after basketball,” he said. “It was a reality check for them, they got a tour of the Mission and it was an overall good experience.”
Holland is the No. 1 seed in the Class C-1 bracket as the girls sectional tournament tips off tonight with eight play-in games and begins in earnest on Thursday with quarterfinal games. Holland makes its debut by hosting Oracle Charter on Saturday in the quarterfinals.
The Dutchwomen (12-3) shared the ECIC IV title this season with Tonawanda. They have been led all season by freshman point guard Olivia Schmidt, whose 22 points per game average leads the league.
“The real key is we have great ball movement. Olivia is surrounded by other good guards, her sister Abby and Korey Lavrey (10 ppg). All three of them move the ball real well. Olivia is one of the best players in the division, she finds ways to score when other people can’t,” said Parker.