Another sucessful girls basketball season

Talia+Kouncar+jumps+to+block+a+lay-up.

Photo Courtesy of Talia Kouncar

Talia Kouncar jumps to block a lay-up.

Corrigan Peters, Senior Sports Writer

This winter marked the start of another season for the girls varsity basketball team at Richard Montgomery, a season that never fails to disappoint, with exciting close games and big wins, like their 64-10 win to start the season and their 52-48 win against Einstein five days later.  Despite this consistency, the 2019-2020 team has many characteristics that are unique to this season.

“I think the thing with this year’s team is that we have a lot of depth, it’s not just two or three players who are very skilled and then a big drop-off,” coach Michael Oakes said. The depth of this team is a huge improvement and a major factor in the success that they have, since the team doesn’t have to rely on a small number of players but can score points with the whole team.

Not only are all the players on this year’s squad skilled, but each player has a specific skill set that balances the overall talent on the court.

“This year we have a lot of players who have complimentary skills,” Oakes said. “Some of them are great defenders, some of them are really good shooters, others pass the ball really effectively, so it’s really nice to have that.”

Another special feature of the team this year is the large number of underclassmen who are able to play competitively on the varsity level.

“We have two freshmen and five sophomores on the team, so more than half of our players are freshmen and sophomores which I know is rare for a varsity team,” Oakes said. “It really speaks to the talent level that we have with the younger players, that they’ve really stepped up and earned their positions on varsity, which is really good and exciting.”

A common struggle for teams that have a lot of seniors is rebuilding their system once much of the team has graduated. Because of the youth and depth on RM’s team, this will not be a major problem.

“In addition to having a good year this year, we feel like we’ll continue to have a really bright future,” Oakes said.

With so many contributors to the wins that the girls basketball team has accumulated so far, no single strength is the entire cause for success during any given game.

“I think the most important factor is just teamwork and team bonding. I think that’s the source where everything else can branch off from,” sophomore player Gloria Moudou said. Since the players on the team spent a large amount of time together at games and practices, chemistry is very important.

“Our team bonding helps us get plays done, win games and stuff like that, but it also creates a situation where players are happy to go to practice and happy to play the sport,” Moudou said. Once players become comfortable in the system the Coach Oakes has created, victories become easier to achieve. In basketball and any team sport, bonding helps players get used to their teammates and leads to stronger defense, better passing, and overall enthusiasm towards the game.

Once the stress of trying out is gone, the team bonding gives every player freedom to take risks and improve their skills and knowledge of the sport.

“[Team bonding] creates a nice environment for us to say what we want to say and do what we want to do and it’s just very good in that way.” Moudou said.

With three games left to play in the season, big plays and exciting wins are sure to continue through this year and into the 2020-2021 season. Out of all of the factors in their success, one improvement that could be made would be a stronger fanbase. With more people cheering them on, the team would be able to capitalize on home games more, and reasons to attend are easy to find.

“I think if you come to our game, you’re gonna see a team that is gonna work really hard and is gonna put full effort out on the court,” Oakes said.

“[The players] were all working hard,” sophomore Nusrat Meetul said. The work ethic and enthusiasm that the girls show every game was just as apparent to spectators as to the coach.“They’re all positive and supported each other,” sophomore Cooper Sosin said.

The usual excitement of watching a varsity athletic event is only heightened by the two unique aspects of the girls basketball playing style.

“I think you’re gonna see a team that’s exciting to watch because we’re a really great three-point shooting team, so we have a lot of players from Calie Dunn to Anujin Dashdorj to many many players who are really strong three-point shooters. I think we’re one of the better three-point shooting teams in the county so it’s always fun to watch,” Oakes said.

The excitement isn’t only present when the team has the ball, however. Their defense also makes games more fun to watch.

“We also press a lot, and we’re pretty successful with that, and so I think it just makes for an entertaining style of play that people would prefer to watch rather than just walking the ball up and down the court,” Oakes said.