HARWICH ─ The Monomoy girls basketball team was back on the court Dec. 1 prepping for the official start of their 2017-2018 season with an unofficial but still important scrimmage against Mt. Everett as they look toward a solid future during a year of rebuilding.
Admittedly, said head coach Pete Richer, the team is young in comparison to previous seasons, with just one senior on board.
“Maddie Leonard is the one returning varsity player with extensive experience,” Richer said, adding that Leonard is leading the team as captain. “Leah Nash, Kelsey Olson, and Maggie Dever played some varsity last year, but not a lot, and so we're going to have our work cut out for us.”
That doesn't mean the team isn't striving to compete. According to Richer, though comprised mainly of underclassmen, with a wealth of sophomores, freshmen and eighth graders, the team's motto this season is about improving not just with each game, but also with each practice.
“I look forward to getting better and better every day. That's our new motto,” said Richer. “I think it's going to be a rebuilding year, but I'm very excited because it's a great group of girls.”
Against Mt. Everett, a school from western Mass. that embarks each year on a preseason scrimmage trip, the Sharks worked to strengthen skills and put into action newly learned plays, while for many the game was an opportunity to gain valuable playing time. Richer said such play is important as the season starts as it further strengthens team bonds and communication. The scrimmage also allowed newer players to get a feel for the speed and intensity inherent in varsity level basketball.
“They're very athletic and have extensive experience in soccer, lacrosse and field hockey, and so we hope to draw upon that experience and bring it to the basketball court,” he said.
The head coach is also emphasizing with his squad the importance of measuring progress away from the scoreboard.
“Success is not only measured in wins and losses,” Richer said. “Through goal setting we can improve every day, and therefore every week. They'll be able to look back at the end of the season and see what kind of progress we made and build upon that year-to-year. I think if we focus on that aspect, on getting better every day, they will stay positive because they'll know by the fruits of their labor that it was worth all the effort.”
Richer said that while this season might be challenging given the youth of his team, the future is promising and he hopes both players and fans will remember that.
“They will get a tremendous amount of experience that they will use in the future, and which will allow them to grow together,” he said. “And if we do take our lumps now it will just make our future success that much sweeter.”
Richer looks to the success of the girls soccer team as an example of what his players are capable of.
“I think a few of these girls experienced losing in soccer a couple years back and this year they were the Cape and Islands Champions,” he said. “I expect that experience to keep them going.”
With his Sharks set to kick things off against D-Y tomorrow night at 7, Richer is ready to watch his team in action.
“I'm just as excited for this season as I was for the past two when we were upper class loaded,” he said.
Monomoy hosts D-Y tomorrow (Dec. 8) at 7 p.m., with another home game against Sturgis West slated for 7 p.m. on Dec. 11.