This year’s girls varsity basketball team includes a plethora of new members, both on the court and on the bench, with the potential for greater success this season.
Five of the 14 girls on this year’s squad are new, and head coach Doug Kneeland said that the influx of talent should help the team play better. “The new players are bringing significant basketball strengths, and the returners are helping them fit into the system and the team as a whole,” he said.
Changes have also come on the coaching staff, with new assistant coaches Parker Reed and Will Boscow replacing outgoing coaches Rachel Myers and Maggie Crain. Kneeland was quick to note that Myers and Crain are still an important presence with the team on an informal basis, coming to practices and working with players.
Reed, who has been a long-time coach in the boys program, brings significant guard play experience to the program, said Kneeland. And Boscow, who graduated in 2011, carries with him the legacy of Hotchkiss athletics. When he was a Hotchkiss student, Boscow served as a practice player with the girls team, said Kneeland.
For captains Harper Rosati ’19 and Hattie Childs ’19, one of the main responsibilities will be to manage team culture and create a welcoming environment for all players, especially the new ones. “We are very understanding, helpful, and fun people and will always look out for our teammate,” said Rosati. “Hattie and I will do anything to help our team and be there for each and every player no matter what.”
Last year’s team made meaningful progress in improving its win total, and for upward arc to continue, the team will need to make progress on both ends of the court. On defense, Kneeland said that the key would be generating more turnovers, which will allow the speedy guards to generate transition offense.
On offense, the Bearcats will need to take more shots. “In the half-court set we need to be willing to shoot,” said Kneeland. “If we have an open mid-range jumper or three-point shot, we need to take that,” he said.
Rosati said that after the first few games, the team has settled down on offense. “If we learn how to be confident while being pressed, we will be able to slow the ball down, run through our plays, and ultimately find the open shot,” she said.