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Girls Basketball Preview

The lack of Upperclassmen on Girls Varsity Basketball?

Over the past few years, less Upper School students have participated in Varsity girls basketball. This season there are only seven upperclassmen participating in the sport. As a result, the majority of the roster spots will be comprised of underclassmen and middle schoolers.

As the 2016 season approaches, some students may wonder about the upperclassmen leadership on the basketball team, which is currently limited to only six students.

“As far as I’ve experienced in Packer athletics, age has never really been a predictor or how ‘good’ or ‘unified’ a team is,” said Katie Panczner (‘18) a current basketball player “As Russell likes to say, ‘captain is a title, leadership is a quality, and I think those on the team couldn’t agree more. Everyone has a role as part of the team, and everyone is able to step up as needed.”

Katie has trust in her team as a unit and believes that players, older and younger, are ready to step up and lead the team throughout the season. Additionally, Packer has such a wide variety of sports offered that it is difficult for some students to choose one over another. Therefore many students may not commit to one sport throughout their high school careers, which may lead to a drop in number over the years.

Beverlly Yauri (‘20), a freshman preparing to try out for Varsity basketball, she expressed some pros and cons of the lack of upperclassman participating in the sport.

“Unfortunately, there will be less experience, which may hurt because usually the juniors and seniors especially help get the team motivated, or out of down times during the season. Although the upperclassmen usually follow the roles of leaders and help the team get mentally motivated, it will help underclass, such as myself, [to]develop leadership qualities, which should help through my career at Packer,” said Beverlly.

Looking at previous data, the amount of students in the class of 2018 who played basketball during their freshman and sophomore year has diminished entering the 2016-2017 season. As Katie stated earlier Russell Tombline, the Girls Varsity basketball coach stated that, “captain is a title, leadership is a quality” and that this sort of mindset may help bring more energy to the team throughout the season. In the past, there haven’t been a high number of senior participation in Varsity basketball, yet the team still found success throughout the season.

After speaking to Coach Russell he seemed confident in his team, and that the lack of upperclassmen would not hurt the unit.

“This group (Juniors and Seniors) has been together for 3 years, and they are familiar with each other and the team expectation.  I expect the team to compete for the league championships, and our aspirations are to make NAICS. We’ve got a very strong schedule, now we are ready to get started. When asked why there aren’t as many girls , especially upperclassmen, participating in basketball, he responded,   The girls at Packer have varying interests, and as they get older, some want to try other sports or dance concert. Also, course load at school becomes more important.”

Russell seems very confident in the team, and it is particularly clear that he believes that the chemistry within the group will take the team far. On the other hand, he mentioned the fact that because Packer has such a variety of other winter extracurriculars that it is difficult to have a certain group together throughout their high school careers.

Although not as many juniors and seniors will be participating in basketball this upcoming season, there is little doubt that there will be a lack of leadership. This will give a chance for younger athletes to have a larger role on the team, which will help create a strong unit for this season and the future.

Noah Goodman, a senior in his second year on the Prism, is co-editor in chief for the Packer Prism.

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