By Michelle Tang
A new coach and a large influx of fresh players have pushed Girls Varsity Basketball (GVB) to a winning record this season, Co-Captain Maeve McNamara ’15 said. The team’s record stands at 9–7 as of February 8.
Lead by Maeve and Co-Captain Annie Barrett ’16, the squad consists of three freshmen, five sophomores, one junior, and five seniors. Ten of the 14 players are newcomers—three times as many rookies as last year.
While the four returning members have trained and improved over the summer, Maeve said the new girls have made “huge contributions” to the team.
“We definitely couldn’t have gotten here without some of these younger girls,” she said.
New Head Coach Rich Thornton replaced former Head Coach Kindyll Dorsey and brings 15 years of experience to the team. Most recently, he worked at Oxbow High School in Vermont as the director of athletics and the boys basketball coach.
Coach Thornton said his priority is to lay a foundation for the program’s future. He is experimenting with a new tactic of letting the players learn from their own mistakes, rather than strictly controlling possession as a coach when the team is in an offensive position. He added that the team is compensating for its inexperience by taking advantage of its agility and speed to wear down its competition.
Facing off against a larger team fielded by Exeter on January 10, for example, GVB established a “fast tempo” that took them to a 79–60 victory, Coach Thorton said.
On January 19 at the TD Garden, the team won 52–40 against Pingree with energy and confidence that Coach Thornton praised for leading them to a strong first half.
“We weren’t intimidated by the other team,” player Becky Kendall ’18 said.
Annie added that freshman Kayla Kaloostian ’18 performed especially well, driving effectively to the basket and sinking many outside shots.
The team now aims to qualify for the season-ending New England Preparatory School Athletic Conference (NEPSAC) playoff tournament and defeat its rivals, Annie said.
“I think the team will qualify for the NEPSAC tournament if we continue to work hard and communicate on the court and not get frustrated with each other,” she said.