|Senior-less Spartans Play Well Despite Youth|
The Manchester women’s basketball team may be inexperienced and very young this year, but these girls will not let that be an excuse for their roller coaster season.
The record may not show it, but the team has done really well this season. “We struggle to finish a 40 minute game,” said point guard Jocelyn Hamilton. “We play well for 35 minutes and then play bad for the last five.” However, this practice has not stopped them from giving it all they have. Juniors and sophomores have done their best to step up and fill in the shoes of leaders because the team has no seniors. “They have underestimated how much the seniors from the previous years have done for them,” Head Coach Josh Dzurick said. “So, they have been learning as they go.”
Last season, the team had four seniors: captain Laine Mello, Becki Lowden, Alex Starkey and Kailey Honn. “Even if Laine had to carp to get us to do something, we would do it because we had respect for her,” Hamilton said. This season, the team has two co-captains: junior Erynn Meiklejohn and sophomore Abby Lang. “We are not taking this season for granted, but we also know this is not our last year to do something,” Lang said. “That is the kind of leadership the seniors would bring to the table.”
This year the team’s motto is “Win from Within.” Dzurick has taken this motto to heart by trying to get the players to understand that he is just a coach. He cannot turn them into a basketball star, a great student, or a good person; they have to decide to be one. “That’s why we came up with that motto because they need to recognize that it’s them,” Dzurick said. “They individually and as a group need to make the decisions of what goals they are setting and how to accomplish those goals.”
The girls have taken on the motto and started to bond with one another. While being on campus over Winter Break, the girls would play hide and seek with the lights out in East Hall. The team also bonds by dancing in the locker room to get pumped up for a big game. “We get really goofy before we have to get really focused,” Lang said. They listen to all genres of music, from the “Pitch Perfect” soundtrack to “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. Though if you put on J. Dash’s “WOP,” be aware of everyone in the locker room stopping what they are doing and dancing like fools.
The bonding has led to an 8-14 season and conference 7-8. The best game the girls had was when they beat Hanover at Hanover, 76-73. The team was ecstatic over the win because the team has not beaten Hanover in the past six years. The last two games of the season are against Anderson (Feb. 13 at 7 p.m.) and Earlham (Feb. 16 at 1 p.m.), both at home.