by Roger Wistar
An older, wiser girls varsity basketball team is looking forward to generating more offense and having more success on the court this season.
Eight players from last year's roster have returned, and head coach Doug Kneeland said he was excited to see the team's improvement with a year under its belt.
"So many of our players are returners that the quality of the shots they find are different – better rhythm, having more space, and penetrating to create shot selection," he said.
Some early-season injuries have blunted the team's momentum at the start of the season, but Kneeland said he was looking forward to seeing who will develop into a go-to scoring option when the roster is whole again.
One area where the team may find more strength is down low, with returners like co-captain Hannah Frater '17 joining dynamic newcomers like Hattie Childs '19 and Harper Rosati '19 to give the Bearcats a presence in the paint.
When opponents are forced to focus their attention on offensive threats such as Childs, opportunities will open up for perimeter players, creating more balance, said Kneeland.
With the departure of Meghan Lewis '16, the team will turn to Nia Talley '19 to direct the offense. Kneeland had high praise for his returning point guard. "Nia is a very smart player, has a good handle, and really looks to distribute well," he said. "We're hoping she will be our point guard for the next three years."
If the Bearcats qualify for the New England tournament this year, they should be well tested. Before Winter Break, the team traveled to Ethel Walker for a mini-tournament, and the Eight Schools Tournament has moved to the week before the end of the season this year, making New Englands potentially the third tournament of the season.
The prospects for the team by the end of the season are bright, said Kneeland. "We're a really athletic group that should be a fun team to work with, a fun team to watch. There's lots of excitement," he said.