Girls Basketball Hoping To Rebound After Difficult Season Last Year

David Creed •

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Last year’s Nantucket girls basketball season began with three consecutive wins, giving the Whalers hope that the 2021-2022 season would be one to remember. However, as the season progressed Nantucket struggled to get back to playing at that level and lost their remaining 15 games to finish the year at 3-15 and subsequently miss the state tournament.

Scoring was scarce for this team last year and this season they will need to replace Maclaine Willett, who was their leading scorer, after she graduated in June. But head coach Rafael Osona believes that this year’s group will be able to make up for some of that scoring in a committee approach and a new look playing style led by senior point guard Ciara Barnett.

“There is a core group of returning players, so it isn’t like it is a totally new team, but it is kind of one at the same time,” Osona said. “I think it is awesome we have Ciara returning this year as our point guard because her experience and ability can sort of calm everything down. When nobody wants the ball, it can create panic.”

Barnett and senior Kacey Riseborough were voted as the team’s two captains. Riseborough will be Nantucket’s starting center and provide some much-needed length to an otherwise smaller Whaler team.

Nantucket played a slower, more methodical game last season. Their focus on the halfcourt offense was with the hope it would allow some of the team’s best shooters such as Willett and Raegen Perry to get open looks from the three-point arc. This season without either of them, Nantucket will try to play faster and score more points inside.

“I think we will have a totally different style of play this year compared to last year,” Osona said. “We want to be faster and more opportunistic while putting a bigger emphasis on defense and working on the details of that. If we can cause some chaos that is great and get some fastbreak layups. Last year we tried to slow it down and be more technical, we just couldn’t put together four consecutive quarters of good basketball consistently. I think this new style of play will suit this group.”

Osona believes a few players who could make a significant mark on this team are sophomores Alana Ludvigson, Adney Brannigan, and junior Mikesha Fowler. The team also returns sophomore guard Maddie Lombardi.

He added that junior Joan Harris is arguably his best shooter and expects her to see an increase in offensive responsibility.

“We are going to see who can step up,” Osona said. “There are some ladies who can shoot well. But we are hoping to get some inside shots and free throws.”

The Whalers are scheduled to begin their season on Tuesday, December 13 at 5 p.m. when they host the Nauset Warriors.

You can access the full schedule by clicking here.

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