Katie Westbrook’s nickname is K-Dub.
Megan Sluga, who wants to be a doctor, is MD.
Aiesha Bright is Sunshine.
Leah Jones is Goose.
And Kendra Ornoski? Well, she’s the only one of the five seniors on Phoenix Christian’s girls basketball team who doesn’t have a nickname yet.
But the Phoenix Christian Five are so close that it’s highly unlikely that Ornoski feels left out. Plus, the basketball season is still young, so there’s still time to invent a moniker for Ornoski, but this is the last year Phoenix Christian can create one.
That’s because Phoenix Christian will say goodbye to the five seniors after this season. Ending their high school careers with a state title would be ideal, but Phoenix Christian isn’t the only top tier Division IV team chasing the same dream.
Gilbert Christian, Phoenix Christian’s section foe, Salt River and Phoenix Christian are the early pace setters in D-IV. And don’t forget about Duncan, which defeated Phoenix Christian in the second round of state last season.
Phoenix Christian will rely on its seniors to lead the charge to state this season. On Thursday, the seniors will celebrate a milestone: playing in their 100th high school game.
(Phoenix Christian seniors (L-R) Megan Sluga, Leah Jones, Aiesha Bright, Katie Westbrook, Kendra Ornoski. Photo by Jose E. Garcia/aia365.com)
This unselfish group’s bond actually started in the fifth grade, when they first played for the same team.
“We are close,” Sluga said. “That’s why one of our best qualities on this year’s team is our chemistry.”
Each senior brings something different to the court.
As the point guard, Sluga is the team’s general, but at 5-feet-2, Sluga won’t intimidate you at first. But you know she means business as soon as her firm handshake grips your hand.
Sluga wil box out for a rebound with the best of them and is ranked in the top-10 in career rebounds for Phoenix Christian. She also is No. 3 on Phoenix Christian’s career assist leader board.
Westbrook is the team’s spiritual leader whose goofiness helps keep the team’s mood jovial. She’s also a three-sport star at the school and is ranked No. 2 on the school’s career rebounding list.
Jones is a gym rat and is probably the team’s most consistent player, Sluga said. Ornoski has a strong work ethic and is a student council leader.
Bright has been hampered by injuries, but she was recently cleared to play. The center is athletic and also has a strong work ethic.
The seniors are Phoenix Christian’s leaders, but they aren’t the only reasons why Phoenix Christian is 10-1. Sophomore Mariah Leary is the team’s top rebounder (11.1 per game), junior Dinah Watson leads the team in scoring (13.6 per game) and freshman Allie Sluga, Megan’s sister, is the team’s third leading rebounder.
“It’s a great group of players that we have,” coach Bruce Consier said. “Our seniors have been together for so many years, and I’ve been lucky to see them grow up. They’ve played about 200 games together. It’s been great to see just how they all fit well together on the court.”