By Kalina Natcheva, contributing writer
As the Nantucket Girls’ Basketball team’s 2021-2022 season is coming to an end, the team has reflected on their playing as a whole, both the positive and the negative. Similar to the other Nantucket High School sports teams, the girls’ basketball team had to alter their gameplay according to Coronavirus regulations, as players were required to wear masks during their practices and games. During this year’s winter sports season, (2022), the girls’ (and boys’) basketball games were finally open to public spectators, after a brief period of “fan-banning” that was implemented in December, due to a surge in Covid cases around the island.
This season, the girls’ basketball team’s coaching staff consists of Varsity Head Coach Rafael Osona, JV Head Coach Ryan Watson, Assistant Coach TJ Grant, and Assistant Coach Delroy Lawrence. Alongside the coaches, this year’s Senior Captains are Maclaine Willett and Raegan Perry, both of whom have helped to guide the team through the journey of their unpredictable season.
At the beginning of the season, the team started off with a triumph, as they dominated their first three games against Falmouth Academy (60-10), Nauset Regional(47-43), and Falmouth Academy again (50-15), all of which were major achievements for the players. These high-scoring wins helped the Whalers establish confidence and a sense of unity as a team.
Senior Center Tamoy Marner reflected that the team’s success from the Nauset game was all about spirit and striving as hard as individuals and a group: “We all walked into that game thinking we were gonna lose, but at halftime, we looked at the score and gave it our all.”
The team’s change in mentality proved to determine the game’s outcome, as the Whalers secured the win by a thrilling four points. Though the win was by a smaller margin than the previous match against Falmouth, the fact that the points were hard-won made them all the more satisfying. As the season progressed, the team shared how they began to face many different struggles that impacted their gameplay and ultimately, the winner on the scoreboard.
Senior Guard Caroline Correia revealed some of the team’s most prominent struggles, pointing out that “our biggest struggle was having many players injured and in-and-out from Covid.”
Marner also elaborated on some of the problems she noticed that the team endured, noting that “our weakness as a team is communication on and off the court.” The Whalers are working on putting together their individual skills to be able to be productive as a team.
“Overcoming problems we faced wasn’t easy,” Marner continued, “but visualizing success and repeating positive things we’ve done in the past altogether is how we’ve worked to overcome these problems.”
Although the absence of many players and the communication-related issues imposed a threat on the team’s prosperity, the girls’ positive mindset has allowed them to stay strong. They have now come together to conquer these challenges and finish their season with dignity.
Despite the fact that there were some losses—the girls’ basketball team, as of February 25th, is sitting on a 3-15 record, with a 20% win rate—they have found excitement and joy on the court.
The Whalers were more than happy to share how many of their collective goals they managed to achieve. Senior Captain and Shooting Guard Maclaine Willett praised her team’s achievements, explaining that “I think we did well; we had some moments that needed improvement but there was never a time where the effort wasn’t there, and we still had some victories to take away.” More important than the scores of the games, to Willett, is that the team was trying their best and having fun together.
The team had also set a goal that they would show development in skill and character from the beginning of the season to the end. Correia commented that “our biggest improvement was the second time we played DY and how we just played all-around better: as a unit.” Although some of the scores did not reflect the team’s dedication, hard work, and effort, the players walked away with the same positive demeanor and motivation.
For the final two games, against the Mashpee Falcons and the Martha’s Vineyard Regional Team, the players have made it clear that they utilized their effort and determination to end their season on a high note. Although they fell to both teams, the games were competitive throughout. As their season comes to a close, the girls’ basketball program thanks their graduating seniors and looks ahead to the future.