by Michelle Brooks | staff writer

As the orange ball slowly swirls around the rim, senior Tara Molina gazes up in anticipation as time slows down for a split second. Another three pointer.

“It’s going pretty well. We’re all just trying to figure out things like working as a team and getting to know each other a little bit more, and how each other play. But we have a lot of energy. Getting ready for games- we really know how to pump each other up and just get focused,” Molina said.

After losing some players, such as senior Erica Sanders and freshman Desiree Caldwell, the remaining members are expected to step up and lead the team to victory by showing their leadership.

“Coach D, with the four seniors that we have and with the amount of talent that we all have, especially with the experience and some not having experience, she definitely wants us to be vocal a lot and help each other out. And really leading the team, leading our team, to get where we wanna be,” Molina said.

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Head coach Stephanie Desmarais watches as the freshmen team huddles together.

Head coach Stephanie Desmarais doesn’t rely on just upperclassmen to lead the team, even though seniors may have had more experience. For example, even though they aren’t on the varsity team, the freshman players are also expected to lead the team as needed.

“I’m a very huge believer in leadership on the team and, you know, I don’t necessarily look for it to come from seniority. You know, sometimes your better leaders are younger, but our seniors have more experience playing on varsity,” Desmarais said. “In this situation, this year I’m really looking and expecting them to lead the team because it’s very important. It’s very significant in a successful team.”

 While the leadership continues, the team dynamics continue to evolve as the season progresses, according to Molina. 

“The chemistry on the court is pretty good. Because we all bring a different style of basketball into the team. But, yes, I feel like the chemistry on there- I feel like there [on the court] we can talk to each other and we know where each other is on the court, and how and what the other player is going to do,” Molina said.

With the teamwork and leadership combined, the team’s overall presence on the court may be improved from last year. 

“I wouldn’t necessarily say better. I would say I think they [the players] might do better because we’re more of a team. We’re not as one dimensional. Last year, we were very one dimensional in our style so if a team was scouting us, they could basically say, ‘Stop this player’ or ‘Look for this in their offense’, [or] ‘Stop these players and you should win’,” Desmarais said. “Whereas this year, we have so many threats that the challenge is to get everybody to play together. And once we do that, I think we are possibly going to be a better team than last year.”

Despite the challenges of the new season, the team just needs to work out a few kinks, adds Molina. 

“Even though we lost a good amount of seniors, we gained a few good people. As well as other schools, they did lose other people but, I feel like we’re a really strong group. We all know what we are doing. We just need to figure each other’s roles and we can be successful and go far,” Molina said.

With tournaments on the way and possibly playoffs, the team members still have to complete school work and maintain eligibility in order to remain on the team.

“I like missing school but, the missing work- which we shouldn’t have to make up- is tough. Especially when you have a test the next week and you’re missing a big part of it because you’re gone for two days, or more than what you want to miss, basically,” junior Alyssa Adams said.

Either way, all three seem to agree on one thing.

“I have high expectations and goals of winning district and going farther in the playoffs than we did last year,” Desmarais said.

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About The Author

Michelle Brooks is a senior at Johnson High School and a second year writer for MyJagNews. Her hobbies include playing basketball and eating. Currently, her favorite basketball team is the Cleveland Cavaliers and her favorite basketball player is LBJ. Her favorite WNBA team is the Minnesota Lynx and her favorite WNBA player is Maya Moore.

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