Nauset Girls Struggle At Sandwich After Edging Barnstable In Comeback

By: Brad Joyal

Topics: Basketball , Nauset Regional High School

Nauset junior Samantha McIsaac prepares to shoot a 3-pointer. BRAD JOYAL PHOTO

SANDWICH — With limited senior leadership and a young roster, Nauset’s first-year girls basketball coach Jean Leyton expected this year’s Warriors team to experience some growing pains.

Finding consistency has been an issue for Nauset, which overcame a double-digit second-half deficit in a 46-40 win over Barnstable on Jan. 17 before struggling to stick with Sandwich in a 58-26 loss three days later.

“I feel like we beat ourselves,” Leyton said after the Sandwich loss, which brought the team’s record to 4-8. “We passed to the other team and were only focused on defense some of the time.”

One of the biggest challenges the Warriors face, according to Leyton, is their limited bench.

The first-year coach has been pleased with her core of four junior captains, Jordyn Streitmatter, Samantha McIsaac, Jill Ernstrom and Gabby Foster, though she said it can be difficult to maintain their energy when they go to the bench.

“I have a short bench and when the starters get tired, their mental acuity is lessened,” Leyton said. “We work really hard on that, but tonight we just didn’t have that staying power. We knew what to do [against Sandwich] and talked about what to do, we just couldn’t execute it.”

The loss was a total contrast from the Barnstable win, which saw Nauset overcome adversity to pull out what was likely the team’s signature win of the season thus far.

“We were up by one at halftime and then we were down by 10 and had a 16-point swing,” Leyton said of the win. “We held them to two points in the fourth quarter.”

Although the team benefited from strong scoring efforts — most notably Foster’s career-high 17-point performance — Leyton said the recipe for the comeback win mostly centered around the team’s determination and belief that it could win.

“They decided that they could come from behind,” Leyton said. “They struggle to do that; sometimes they get down and fall apart. But they decided they were going to stick together and play within themselves. They didn’t try to do it all at once.”

The juniors anchored the offense in the Sandwich loss, with Ernstrom (11 points) and McIsaac (eight points) leading the way.

Even if the loss left the Warriors with a sour taste in their mouths, Leyton said she’s been proud of the way the team has played after last year’s 1-16 campaign.

“We’re doing better than we did last year,” she said. “My four juniors are another year older and they really lead the team. The younger players are just so raw, so it’s really tough. I give them credit because I give them a lot of minutes and they’re hustling back and forth.

“I love these girls. They fight hard. Sometimes you just have to not play hard but play smart, and that’s what we’re working on every day.”

 

Email Brad Joyal at brad@capecodchronicle.com.

Twitter: @BradJoyal