By ALEX SPONSELLER The Toll Gate girls basketball team is eyeing a return to the postseason despite losing four starters from last year's squad that reached the preliminary round against Central. In the early going, coach Owen Paquet has been encouraged
By ALEX SPONSELLER The Toll Gate girls basketball team is eyeing a return to the postseason despite losing four starters from last year’s squad that reached the preliminary round against Central.
In the early going, coach Owen Paquet has been encouraged by the team’s competitiveness and feels that the small returning senior core will be strong enough to lead the way and make a run.
“Our seniors Meg Merrow, MacKenzie Hiatt and Felicity Butts are working hard in practice. It’s great to have Sydney (Perreault) back as well. She was in and out of the lineup last year with injury but is back and is on fire in practice so far which is nice to see from her. And we have a ton of freshmen. These freshmen that are coming in have a ton of skill and are competing for starting positions against the upperclassmen which is nice to see,” said Paquet.
Despite the young group of girls and the unusual preseason with the ongoing pandemic, Paquet feels that this group just needs to reach the postseason and the rest will take care of itself.
“The shortened preseason is not a good thing for us, especially with such a young group. We would like to have at least a few weeks to be able to work with them. But they’re working hard. Our goal every year is to make the playoffs and see what happens,” said Paquet. “That’s definitely our goal this year and the way this group has been working in practice, we have potential. We are in Division III and it’s anybody’s game. It’s about who can build their chemistry the quickest and we’re working on that now.”
When facing more experienced groups right out of the gate, Paquet believes that the team will need to focus on winning games early on the schedule. With such a young group, he feels that the best way of doing that is by the team keeping games close and playing its best basketball in the final minutes of action.
“(The key) will be to get a win. That’s going to be the key. We need to get a couple wins under our belt because we don’t know how the season is going to go,” said Paquet. “If we can get to a tied game in the end and execute, if we can keep it close and execute in the final two minutes of the game, then we will be able to do that.”