Girls basketball undefeated in torrid start
The Concord-Carlisle girls basketball team has opened the season with nine straight victories and is currently ranked 13th in the state of Massachusetts. This has been a remarkable transformation for a team that went 1-17 just two years ago. While progress was certainly evident last year when the team went 11-9 and hosted the first girls home playoff game in ten years, the team’s development this year has been dramatic. Coach Kim Magee’s Patriots have outscored their competition by an average of over 20 points per game, putting up 64. 9 points per game and giving up only 43. 7.
|Sophomore phenomenon and Carlislean Kori Barach (center) in action against Westford on Tuesday, January 15. (Photo by Beth Clarke)|
One of the most interesting things about this transition is that the current team is actually quite young. Of the 11 players on the team, five are freshmen and three are sophomores. While the three upperclassmen, seniors Annie Brennan and Hope Lefebvre and junior Courtney Sepucha, are all solid contributors to the early season success, it seems that the infusion of a number of very skilled underclassmen has accelerated the process. Underclassmen include sophomores Kori Barach, Anna Brooks and Natalie Reed and freshmen Parker Lamothe, Nicole Celi, Emma McCollum, Haley Newcomb and Rachel Barach.
Most prominent in this regard is sophomore Kori Barach, a fine player who was named the MVP of the Dual County League small schools division last year. Barach is a gifted scorer but also possesses a broad array of skills including a solid handle, strong rebounding and aggressive defense. If she continues with the pace of improvement we have seen to date and stays healthy, this young woman has a shot at 1,000 points for her career and recognition as one of the best players CCHS has ever seen.
One note of caution regarding the team’s outlook is that they probably have played the easier part of their schedule with eight of the first nine games played at home and only four of their nine opponents having put up a . 500 record or better. On the other hand, the team has impressive victories over 6-2 Tewksbury on the road and 7-1 Cambridge at CCHS. Thus far this season they have answered every challenge.
The Tewksbury game on December 15 was a great step for this team as they beat a fine opponent on the road in a close game, an encouraging sign for a young team’s toughness and resilience. Tewksbury led at the half 25-24 and battled hard all the way to the end of the game with the lead changing hands several times. Barach was immense for the Patriots scoring 20 of her 25 points in the second half to lead the Patriots to the victory.
|Two other varsity players from Carlisle are Emma McCollum (#11, foreground, with the ball) and Rachel Barach (#13). (Photo by Beth Clarke)|
Beating the first place DCL large schools team, Cambridge 68-56 at CCHS on December 18 was also a solid achievement. Cambridge is an athletic, talented team and CCHS showcased their quickness and speed in competing against a quality team also ranked in the top 20.
On Tuesday, January 8, the Patriots faced off on their home floor against arch-rival Lincoln-Sudbury. Featuring an aggressive and smothering full court press, CCHS forced numerous turnovers in the first quarter and raced out to a 26-12 lead. Kori Barach and Sepulcha each had 9 points in this blitz and Lefebvre and freshman Rachel Barach (yes there is another one who is also talented) chipped in with 4 points each. In the second quarter LS righted the ship and played much more aggressively. They outscored the Patriots 14-9 in the period and narrowed the half time score to 35-26 CCHS.
While LS continued their aggressive play in the second half, the Patriots responded with tight defense of their own, going back to their formidable full court press. The Warriors were held to only 12 points in the second half and the Patriots eventually won going away by a score of 58-38. This game highlighted many of the strengths of the CCHS team; tenacious pressing defense, exceptional passing and depth. And while not an obvious weakness, it also illustrated the attention they as a young team must pay when facing aggressive play in the paint.
The remainder of the season may be a more formidable challenge for the team. Half of the ten remaining games will be played on the road. They have three games against DCL large school teams (Westford, Acton-Boxborough and Newton South) and four games against teams that currently have winning records, most notably a tough Westford team. The schedule is also a tremendous opportunity for the team to achieve two of their core team goals, to win the DCL small schools championship and position themselves well for a good post-season tournament run. While they are very talented and deep, they are also very young. Coach Magee and assistant Joe Bohenek are doing an excellent job thus far in focusing the energy and effort of this emerging team. The next several weeks should be a very exciting time for CCHS girls basketball! ∆
Editor’s note: Unfortunately, CCHS lost to Westford 58-72 to drop to 9 and 1.