Nearly a quarter century passes between league titles for Rampart girls' basketball

By Kevin Carmody Published: February 27, 2014 | 9:55 pm 0

The Soviet Union still existed as a world superpower. The Olympic Games, summer and winter, were held during the same year. George Bush, the first one, occupied the Oval Office.

Yeah, it's been a while since 1990, a year that seemed to taunt the Rampart girls' basketball team. Every day in practice, the Rams simply had to look up at the banner that listed league championships, five in a seven-season span from 1984-90.

But none since then. None of the current players were alive for the sweet memory.

On Feb. 21, the dry spell ended, albeit in a loss to rival Pine Creek that left both teams at 9-1 atop the 5A Metro League standings.

"I don't know if it's set in yet," Rams senior Megan Kavalec said. "I don't know if it will until they update that banner. There's a 24-year gap, and we were the team to break it."

Kavalec, along with fellow seniors Lucia Archuleta and Lauren Mochowski, are three seniors who started fresh with coach Megan Leatham, who inherited an eight-win team heading into the 2010-11 season.

From reaching the 10-win plateau to getting back to the playoffs, then finally winning a postseason game in 2013 for the first time in five years, the Rams have progressively improved in Leatham's tenure.

At 6 p.m. Friday, Rampart (18-5), seeded No. 4, hosts No. 7 George Washington (19-5). Suddenly, the Rams play the role of favorite, a team that's expected to hold serve on their home court in a second-round 5A playoff game.

And after all these years - Leatham, an Air Academy graduate, was 5 years old when the Rams last updated the team banner - they're relishing the role.

"We're excited that it's the first time we're expected to win a playoff game," Leatham said. "I have to give the girls credit. From the first day, they bought in, and our goal was to win league this year. Now, we want to make a splash in the bracket."

Rampart, which opened in 1982 as the second school in Academy District 20 after Air Academy, had quick success in athletics. In 1987, the boys' basketball team won the 3A state title with an undefeated mark under coach Rick Starzecki. That same year, the girls' team reached the 3A semifinals.

The girls' also claimed league crowns in 1984-86, 1988 and 1990.

"There's a lot of history in our league with a lot of strong teams over the years," Starzecki said of winning a league title. "I think a lot of the kids today don't fully understand the difficulty in it."

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