Girls Varsity Basketball is looking forward to defending its FAA title this season as well as making a push for the New England Championship.
The team finished with an overall record of 21-1 before being crowned FAA champions in 2016-17. The team suffered a heartbreaking overtime loss to Proctor Academy in the New England tournament semifinal.
Head coach Matt Ward returns for his second year at the helm and anticipates another productive season on the court: “Everyone has been working hard doing a good job and giving maximum effort. We haven’t had a ton of time with the full squad yet but we have been able to get a lot of conditioning in, which has been great.”
St. Luke’s will be without their all-time leading scorer this season. Sydney Lowery ‘17, who scored over 2000 career points, is now suiting up for Boston College. Ward knows it will be a challenge to adapt to playing without her: “We are trying to figure it out still because Syd was here for five years and none of these girls have played here without her. She did a lot of great things but I think the thing we are going to miss the most is the consistent effort, energy and focus that she brought every single day. We have girls who are eager to step up though and we have been feeling things out playing without her both offensively and defensively.”
The team has everyone else returning and Ward knows he still has a wealth of talent at his disposal. Maya Klein ‘18, McKenna Frank ‘18 and Bridget Dalton ‘18 will captain GVBB and the head coach is expecting a lot from the trio: “I think Maya and McKenna will certainly be key in terms of scoring, as they were last year, but we are really looking for that third or fourth player who can step up and score 10-15 points a game. Bridget can certainly be that player.”
The Storm will also look to Tamia Fulton ‘19, Sydney Cummings ‘19, Riley Page ‘19, Jada Boggs ‘19, Janelle Johnson ‘20 and Caroline Lau ‘22 to contribute to what looks like a potent offense: “I would love to see four or five kids every game in double figures scoring-wise.” Ward said: “That’s kind of a goal for me because I think it makes us very difficult to defend against. We are going to look to some girls who might not be used to scoring at that pace to a do a little bit more this year.”
St. Luke’s has a much tougher schedule this year and will play many of the teams Ward believes will be in the mix for the New England tournament. He is looking forward to the challenge and expects his team to compete against the best: “Our class is really deep and really strong. We play a lot of those teams so we will have a good chance to prove that we should be back in the tournament. Making it to NEPSAC's will be a challenge this year with 10-11 really good teams but I expect us to be there.”
In terms of coping without Lowery, Ward says the team will continue to play a very similar style of basketball and play to their strengths: “If anything, we will go a little faster and that is what we have been preaching. We have some talented shooters so the more shots we get off the better. The better our defense is the more possessions we have to give those shooters the opportunities—so we will definitely be looking to focus on that the next few weeks.”
Girls Varsity Basketball won its first scrimmage of the season against Trinity Catholic High School on Tuesday, November 28 by a final score of 82-55.
Next up: The team will face Vermont Academy and Watkinson School on Saturday, December 2 in the Miss Hall’s tournament.