A version of this article appeared on print in our January 2017 issue.
Much like the Golden State Warriors, the 2015-16 Raider Girls Basketball team was not used to defeat. Not including a win at an invitational game played at the TD Garden, the girls basketball team has posted an impressive record, losing to the reigning state champion Braintree Wamps in the semi-final round of the state tournament.
The team this year featured five captains, Dorian Cohen ’17, Katie Williamson ’16, Caroline Sullivan ’16, Emily Cronin ’16, and Emma Ivey ’16. The five captains had big shoes to fill after losing Lexi Jones ’15, who continued her basketball career at Williams.
All five of the captains played big roles, but coach Glen Magpiong credits the success of his team to all of his players.
“Every player played a key role on our team. What they do at practice, in a game, whether playing or not, played an integral part in what we do as a team,” said Magpiong.
In basketball it is often said that,“offense wins games, defense wins championships.” Defense played a major role in the success of the team.
“I think our strength was our defense. The team really worked hard on the defensive end and it started with how hard they worked at practice. They really seemed to trust each other which is why I like to call it WE-FENSE,” said Magpiong.
Cohen agreed, “Our biggest strength was our defense. We are proud of ourselves on defense and we had players that could guard amazing offensive players from other teams,” said Cohen.
However, the team was by no means perfect, “In some games, we struggled finishing around the rim and putting in easy shots, ” said Cohen.
The team’s offense was not clicking during the team’s matchup with Braintree, since the team only managed to put up two points in the first quarter.
All of the success that the team had this past season resulted in many memorable experiences for the team.
“One exciting moment was when we played at the Garden against Needham and beat them, with all 15 people on the team scoring at least once,” said Williamson.
The team even looks at their losses during the season in a positive light, and an opportunity to learn from their mistakes.
“Although we lost to Braintree, it was an exciting game because we were very close to them the whole game. This showed us that we can compete with the top team in the state, and we hope to play them again in the state tournament,” said Cohen.
Braintree and Wellesley met each other again in the semi-final round of the state tournament, and Braintree beat the raiders once again by a final score of 47 to 35.
The success that the team experienced this season is proof of how hard the team worked each day in practice, and the team had to earn the end of practice, since “we always finished with making 200 three pointers,” said Magpiong.
However, the players did not view practices as a mundane aspect to playing on the team, rather it provided extra motivation for the team to go out and play well in their games. “My favorite part of being on the team was coming to practice every day with players who are ready to get after it and work hard. We all want to win and the energy that comes from that passion was present in practice and games,” said Cohen.
If the team aims to create a dynasty in Bay State Conference, the underclassmen on the team need to work to make themselves even better players. Four seniors will be graduating in the spring, so it is up to the underclassmen to carry the team in the years to come.
There was already a presence from the underclassmen on the varsity team, including two freshman guards Brooke Guiffre ’19 and Nicole Beckett ’19.
“There are definitely some underclassmen who will have to take on larger roles next year, but as to who it will be all depends on who is willing to put in the most work during the offseason,” said Williamson.
Coach Magpiong also recognizes the importance of the offseason. “The players will need to get better. They cannot expect to show up the first day of tryouts not having worked on their game and expect to make a team. There are a lot of good underclassman nipping at their heels. We don’t ask for much, just an hour a day of having a ball in your hand or working out. If you want to get better, you have to put the work in,” said Magpiong.
Regardless of the fact that the team lost in the state tournament, it is not the end of the world for the girls on the team. A big part of the athletics program in the high school is not just winning and losing, but about growing as a person.
“I’ve been on the varsity team for 4 years now and one of my favorite parts across all of those seasons is how much time we get to spend together. You really grow to love spending time with your team and hate when the season has to come to an end,” said Williamson.