By ALEX SPONSELLER The Pilgrim girls basketball team has had a roller coaster few years, and is in for another season of change in 2021. After multiple down years in Division II, the team moved down to DIII and immediately became a contender in the past
By ALEX SPONSELLER The Pilgrim girls basketball team has had a roller coaster few years, and is in for another season of change in 2021.
After multiple down years in Division II, the team moved down to DIII and immediately became a contender in the past two seasons. The Lady Pats reached the finals - and nearly won them - in 2019 and reached last year’s semifinals.
Now, in 2021, Pilgrim is making the move back to DII and is ready for the challenge.
“Everything is fluid, but the girls have worked really hard which I am happy to see. One thing that has changed with the pandemic is that girls are now just so happy to be here. They’re not taking it for granted,” said coach Scott Bayha. “I can tell by their smiles that everyone is in a great place and happy to be here. Before, we tell the kids we are having a Saturday morning practice, we would get moans and groans. Now, we tell them that and they’re ready to go. The kids want to be here which is a great thing.”
One of the leaders of the team will be senior Emma Corcoran, who has made the most of her time during the past few months.
“Things are going well and we are trying to do the best we can. We all have a really good relationship with one another. It’s really exciting to be back, I tried to make the most of my time during quarantine to practice as much as I could. I am seeing that from everyone else, too,” said Corcoran.
Although the Pats will be considered underdogs in the early going, Bayha feels that his club is better equipped to play against tougher competition than the team he had a few years back.
“Last time we were here, we only got three wins, so we have our work cut out for us. We reached the finals and semifinals in Division III the last two years, so I think that we are much more prepared for Division II this time around,” Bayha said. “Last time, we weren’t prepared, we lost a lot of seniors and the kids that were there weren’t ready to play. These kids now, they’re more ready to play. We play a lot of kids, they’ve been on the court, they’ve gotten minutes. They’re a little more athletic and have played more basketball.”
As the season approaches, Bayha and company are looking to stick to the basics and play clean basketball out of the gate.
“We’re focused on the fundamentals and right now we are just trying to learn a few of the important things and get them down pat. A huge thing for us will be confidence, if we get down we have to be able to get back. These girls have not had to play from behind much the last two years. We’ll also see more speed and better athletes. The girls are going to have to adjust to that and stay confident,” said Bayha.
Corcoran also feels that the team needs to appreciate each day it gets to hit the court during this unusual season.
“We just need to make the most of what we have,” said Corcoran. “Everyone is trying to do what they can because we don’t know what’s going to happen so every day we are practicing like it will be our last. We just need to move forward.”