Senior Girls Finish Their Career at Cleveland

Luisa Potestio, Elena Matt, and Tynesha Parnell before their last home game

Clarion photo Ashley Lytle

Luisa Potestio, Elena Matt, and Tynesha Parnell before their last home game

By Riley Buerk, Reporter

Friday. Feb. 17 was an emotional evening for the girls basketball team.  It was senior night, and the last home game of the year. The Warriors, who lost 74-36 to Benson, had three seniors on the team this year: Tynesha Parnell, Elena Matt, and Luisa Potestio. Their leadership on and off the court this year was very valuable in leading the Warriors to fourth place in the Portland Interscholastic League (PIL), with a 6-10 league record and 12-10 overall.  

Coach Suzanne Washington said, “Tynesha pushes everyone to get better through her intensity and desire to win. She is vocal and models effort on the floor. Elena brings a calmness to the team. She has no drama and is extremely reliable and demonstrates to the younger players a great work ethic. Luisa is new to the team and brings energy and fits in well with the team. She is quiet but works hard and supports the team effort.”

Parnell injured her leg in the team’s victory at Roosevelt, and it has hurt the team in their recent games, with the team going 0-6 since the injury. She was a four-year varsity player, and she improved every year. Her freshman year she averaged 5.5 points and 1.4 assists per game.  This year, she averaged 16.1 points, and three assists, while shooting 40 percent from the field.  She is also in the running for the PIL player of the year award. Parnell plans to play for Umpqua Community College. Her personality, according to her coach, is “vocal, expressive, able to show her emotions and pushes those around her constantly. She has learned how to be more supportive and positive in her expressiveness.”

Matt has also played varsity all four years at Cleveland. Her freshman year she played in 17 games and only averaged 0.4 points and 1.0 rebounds per game. She improved over her four years, and this year she averaged four points and four rebounds and shot 38 percent from the field. Before her final game she said that, “[the team was] happy, and then Tynesha started crying and then the whole team broke down, but it was hard and we wanted to win.” Matt is “sad I’m not going to play at home again, but I’m excited for my future and and to graduate high school. It was just emotional because it was a hard game to end on.”  She is undecided on where she is going to college.

This was Potestio’s first year playing at Cleveland after transferring from Central Catholic.  She stepped in and immediately contributed, averaging two points per game on 31 percent shooting. However, she understood that it is a team game, as Coach Washington said, “Team is first and her own self comes second.” Before the game, Potestio “was very excited but then it got to be emotional and all since it is the last home game and seeing how much everyone cared for us seniors was amazing. When they started to get emotional, we all did because it shows us how much we all care for each other.”  She is undecided on where she is going to college.

Coach Washington said she “can’t believe they are seniors and won’t be around next year. After all the ups and downs, the goods and the bad, I have learned they are special people and I will miss them.” She thinks they will do well in whatever their future holds for them, saying, “I know they are ready for the future and will do well in whatever it is they do in life, so that makes it easier.”