The Nantucket Girls Basketball Team, under new head coach Rafael Osona, has had a very good season so far. The team sustains an overall record of 11 wins and 3 losses and a Cape and Islands league record of 8 wins and 2 losses. The Lady Whalers have already clinched a postseason playoff berth in the South Sectional Division IV playoffs.
Senior captain Paige Albertson stated that the season has been going well and there are a lot of positives to be taken from the season so far. Albertson noted, “This season we’ve been able to build some team chemistry and we’re working better together and improving as a team every game.” This team chemistry is apparent, as the girls are leaders of the Cape and Islands league after dropping just three games all season. As a senior in her last year, captain Albertson hopes that this season they make it to the playoffs and make their mark with this year’s graduating class. She added, “I hope we leave the program in good hands with a successful season behind us.”
Head Coach Osona would agree that the seniors are leaving the program in good hands, as there are a lot of young players coming up, which is very good. Osona noted that “We have a lot of good players both on Varsity and JV like Tamoy Marner and Maclaine Willet which is really exciting.” The future of the team really looks good and Osona is confident that the team will be able to find talent in the next couple of years. Osona also stressed the fact that there is an even spread of players throughout all the classes, which is a very good thing to see.
The girls have been seeing plenty of action over the past weeks, and it has been a good run for them. Despite starting the season with a defeat to Sturgis East, who were joint leaders of the league, by a score of 34-33, the girls quickly lifted their heads up to bounce back with a 46-10 win over Cape Cod Academy. In an out of conference play, the girls fell to Division IV powerhouse, the Cohasset Skippers by a score of 46-33. Notable wins this season include two games against Dennis Yarmouth, who they beat on island 35-30 and Malika Philip led with a game-high 14 points. In the away game, the girls performed much better as they smacked the Dolphins 47-25, again being led by Malika Phillip with a 21 point performance, followed by Marina Caspe with 19 points.
With the addition of Martha’s Vineyard to the league, the Lady Whalers traveled to the rival island but were met with a strong defensive press, which gave the Whalers a difficult time as they went on to lose the game 31-22. Junior Malika Phillip again led the way with 14 points and seniors Anna Steadman and Marina Caspe followed up with four points each. However, the Lady Whalers quickly rebounded from that loss and got revenge against the Mariners from Falmouth Academy, who knocked them out of state play last season in overtime, by beating them by a score of 40-31 for the win. Once again, Philip led the whaler’s offense with an 18 point performance followed by Marina Caspe with 11 points.
In other games, the girls beat Saint John Paul by a 42-21 score, destroyed an injury-depleted Sturgis West with a 57-9 performance, and whooped league rival Monomoy Sharks by a 45-21 score.
Both Malika Phillip and Marina Caspe has been contributing a lot of points per game with Phillip leading the way with an average of 15 points per game. The girls don’t seem to be affected by the new coaching staff as everything has been going smoothly so far. Junior guard Annalisa Crooks only emphasized that practice has been different though as the flow and style have drastically changed and it’s taking a while to get used to. Crooks also added that “The season has been going good and there are definitely things that we work on that improves in the game and the flaws are being minimized but overall it’s good.”
When asked about how it has been going in his first season as head coach for the Girls Varsity basketball team, Osona said, “It has been really going well and I have really benefited from knowing the girls already because I coached them in different sports over years so it has been pretty easy interacting with the girls.” With the season already halfway through, the players and coaches have come up with their goals for the season. Osona noted that most of the girls just want to qualify for playoffs and to go further than they went last year when they finished the season at the quarterfinals. Osona described his goal for the team: “I just want them to be playing their best basketball come playoff time and I prefer if we would win our games at the end of the season when it’s playoff time when we are at our highest level.”
The girls still have a rough schedule, as they still have to play the likes of Martha’s Vineyard, Cohasset and Falmouth Academy. The girls continue their season with a league game win over Sturgis East by a 37-17 score and avenged an early-season loss and also got the better of Cape Cod Academy by handing them a 37-23 loss. The Lady Whalers are now the leaders of the Cape and Islands league. The girls are on the right path to success and they hope to pull off something fantastic in the South Sectional State Tournament.
By Tajaun Francis