It was only the second game of the season, but to junior Anna Raffaelli it felt like a championship was won.
It had been more than two years since Raffaelli and members of the Owosso girls basketball team walked off the court with a win.
And the Trojans finally were able to do that earlier this month when they knocked off Flint Kearsley to halt the program’s 44-game losing streak.
The win was the first for Raffaelli in her three-year varsity career, and first for the program since it posted a Class A state tournament win over Saginaw Arthur Hill in February 2014.
“It was really emotional,” said Raffaelli, who had a team-high 20 points in the win. “I didn’t really think we had won until the buzzer sounded in the fourth quarter. It was just kind of unbelievable. After that, going into the crowd and giving your friends and family a hug, it was just very emotional. I think the crowd and the community really enjoyed it, and they were pretty proud of us. We’re proud of them for the support as well.”
The last couple years have been frustrating for Raffaelli as Owosso endured back-to-back winless seasons. Raffaelli said it felt embarrassing at times as her team couldn’t find a way to pull out a win despite being close a few times.
But beating Kearsley, which is 2-2 this season, provided a rewarding moment for the Trojans after not seeing any of their work lead to victories the last two years.
“The moment was great because it was the first moment that those girls came to the realization that they can win,” second-year Owosso coach Teresa Graham said. “(They saw that) they can play basketball and win a basketball game. That was the greatest thing.
“The fans and parents came down and the girls were just elated. The greatest moment was them believing in themselves now.”
Graham, a former Owosso standout that went on to play at Oakland University, said players expected to be defeated because they hadn’t experienced winning. Now Raffaelli and the Trojans (1-3) are trying to build off their first victory and hope to experience some more successful moments on the court this season.
“We can’t just have one win and let the rest of the season go,” Raffaeli said. “We have to build off that win.”