Girls basketball looks for another playoff Berth in 2023

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Photo courtesy of Kate Sloper

The team stands for the National Anthem.

The court is packed in the gym, and the Lancer Girls Basketball team is looking for another playoff appearance this year. With the season well underway, many on the team have high hopes for the year ahead, including sophomore captain Kate Sloper. 

“I’m feeling hopeful and positive about this upcoming season,” Sloper said. “We’re a very young team and have a lot to improve upon, but we keep getting better every day.” 

The team has taken their preparation for the season very seriously and hope that the hard work can relate to play on the court.

“We’ve prepared in the gym and weight room,” Sloper said. “We’re in the gym six days a week, two hours a day. We currently see [LHS Athletic Trainer] Michelle once a week and throughout the fall we saw her as well. We played in a summer and fall league to keep the ball rolling.”

Kate Sloper shoots a game-tying 3 in Dover. Photo courtesy of Kate Sloper

This year’s team has many qualities they think can give them the edge against some of the best competition. 

“Our strength is speed,” Sloper said. “We’re probably one of the fastest teams in the league. We’re small, which doesn’t help, but we’re quick and can move around people. Our defending is what we’re known for, so once we get our offense rolling we’ll be in good shape.” 

This year’s team is mostly based on youth, and Sloper hopes that both groups can come together during the season. 

“The dynamic of the team is good,” Sloper said. “It’s kind of a divide between upperclassmen and underclassmen. Half of us are so young and the others are seniors. Once we gel as a team, we could be unstoppable.”

Sloper believes that this team is perceived as the  “underdogs,” but thinks they can make a push against some of the best. 

“I’m looking forward to what we can be,” Sloper said. “Obviously the competition is tough, but we’re a team that no one can sleep on. We have the upper hand on most and they just don’t know it yet. We have so much to learn and grow from which will help us in the long run.”

Along with Sloper, other players like senior captain Shannon Ball are also excited for the season.   

“I’m excited for this season because we have a talented group of players,” Ball said. “I think we are going to do very well this season.” 

Ball believes that her team has been well prepared for the competition this year. 

The players boxing out after the free throw. Photo courtesy of Kate Sloper

“In the off season, we played against the top teams to prepare ourselves,” Ball said. “We have also been working hard at practice everyday.” 

The team seems to have a lot of various strengths, and Ball hopes they can combine them during the year.  

“Being a young team is definitely one of our weaknesses,” Ball said. “We all have individual strengths, but we need to be able to put them together to play the best we can as a team.”

Another captain on this team is sophomore Reagan Anderson and she’s ready to go for the season.

“I’m really excited for the upcoming season,” Anderson said. “I think we have a great team with lots of different strengths.” 

Along with the other captains, Anderson believes that the team is prepared for the season. 

“Our team prepared by playing in competitive summer and fall leagues,” Anderson said. “We have also been working really hard in practice and push one another.”

The team in warmups prior to their matchup. Photo courtesy of Kate Sloper

The team this year might not be the strongest, but Anderson believes that they can do it all. 

“We are a little undersized,” Anderson said, “but we have a lot of depth and can all fill multiple roles.” 

This year looks to be a fun one for Anderson, and she’s eager to get onto the court. 

“I am looking forward to playing lots of competitive games this season,” Anderson said, “as well as experiencing the team’s camaraderie on and off the court.”

Another senior and captain on the team, Jordan Furlong, is looking forward to what the season has to offer. 

“I am looking forward to seeing what our team accomplishes this year,” Furlong said. “We have a lot of strong players who will contribute and I think we have a lot of potential to compete with each team this season.”

Furlong thinks the team’s practice this summer helped bring them to where they are now. 

“We have had great opportunities to play before the official season in summer and fall leagues,” Furlong said. “Now, we are working hard at practice each day to prepare for our upcoming games.”

Furlong believes the team will take time to mend together due to it being primarily made up of underclassmen.

“We are definitely a younger team, so it will take some practice to really get the team chemistry and energy high,” Furlong said,

However, Furlong is excited for what the team has to offer. 

“I am very excited about this group of girls,” Furlong said. “We are all committed to the game and have great friendships with each other.”

The bench rolling with energy in Dover. Photo courtesy of Kate Sloper

Furlong looks forward to the season ahead and hopes to continue working hard. 

“I am looking forward to spending the next few months with the team and doing our best to get better everyday and work through hardships together.”

Along with the players, head coach Jon Doherty also has a positive attitude toward the season.

“Optimistic,” Doherty said. “We are very young as a whole, but we have a lot of talent and a lot of hard-working kids. If we can figure it out, we can compete with some of the top teams.”

Doherty trusts the preparation that was put into this team.

“Other than sickness, the girls are pretty focused and optimistic going into the year.”

Doherty sees the youth as a weakness, but also notes how it could be a strength going forward. 

“I think we have a lot of shooting this year as well as defense,” Doherty said. “Our defense is going to be a strength for us this year. We have a lot of speed and a lot of kids who can make the right read.” 

Coach Doherty also hopes that both the upper and underclassmen can cooperate well. 

“I think a lot of the girls get along really well and a lot of the older kids are working hard to make good examples for the younger kids.”