Girls basketball team builds on height, senior leadership

Megan Hegarty, Co-Editor

Basketball requires teamwork, and a team can’t succeed if they don’t work together. This year, senior leadership on the girl’s basketball team is better than ever.

The team started the season 6-7 as of Jan. 31, and head coach Ryan Mahoney said the team’s goal is to improve throughout the season.

“Our expectation is to get better every single day, and we want to be a significantly better basketball team at the end of the year than we were at the beginning of the year,” he said. “We want to see significant improvement day by day, week by week and game by game — making sure we’re in a position where we can do [well] at the end of year.”

Senior Maddie Newell has been on the varsity girls basketball team all four years and said this team is different than past teams because of the girls’ height.

“We’re really tall, so we’re going to use that to our advantage this year,” she said. “We have a lot of returning players, so I hope we can go farther than last year — we made it to Substate, but it’d be really cool to go to State for my senior year.”

Although she said being a tall team is beneficial, Newell said a shortage of depth on the roster may cause some problems.

“We have a lot of posts and not that many guards, which is a little nerve-wracking,” she said.

The basketball team practices for two and a half hours, six days per week, and Newell said she enjoys seeing that translate well in the games.

“I love getting at it at the games,” she said. “I’m a really competitive person, so I like seeing the hard work we put into practice come into something at the game.”

Newell said the senior leadership her first year shaped her as a player.

“The seniors my freshman year were really welcoming and set the example for how we play,” she said. “It was cool to be the freshman on varsity because they mentored and accepted me. Now, I get to do that for the incoming freshmen.”

Mahoney said the seniors motivate their teammates to do their best in all areas of life.

“I don’t think we’ve ever seen classes that are better at leading than the senior class we have now,” he said. “We have some exceptional leaders [in] the school not just [for] the basketball team.”

Newell said the seniors want to instill a strong work ethic in the younger basketball players.

“This year the rest of the seniors and I are really trying to keep up tempo up and keep everyone working hard,” she said.

Mahoney said Newell’s experience is an incredible asset to the team.

“I don’t even know how to state Maddie’s value giving it the credit it deserves,” he said. “If coach [Darcy] Clinton and I were to be sick for a week, I’m sure Maddie would do just fine running practice by herself. She knows what I’m going to say before I say it, and sometimes she says it before I can. She knows how to communicate and tell the girls what’s expected because she’s been [on varsity] for so long now.”