Noelle Hayes and Desiree Nong also contributed to the article.
As winter sports take session, the Girls Basketball team is back on the court practicing and preparing for a successful season. The team has had to adjust to new additions. However, they all share a common goal, which is to make it to the state tournament.
Fourth-year varsity coach Scott Marino and his team have established goals for each other to assure a successful season. Last season, Marino expressed the girls “worked as hard as they possibly could,” however, for the past couple of years the team faced difficulties being in the Northeastern Conference; this year, they are back in the Greater Boston League (GBL). Marino is excited to be back in the GBL because he feels it is “where they belong.” Furthermore, the GBL allows Malden to play with teams that are “demographically like Malden High” which gives them a “better chance to compete.”
The team has a lot of new players who are freshmen and sophomores. There are only three seniors on the team. Marino states he has had to deal with the challenge of getting the underclassmen “acclimated to play varsity basketball at a high level.”
Meley Ephrem, who is a senior and the captain, has played basketball throughout her entire high school career. Ephrem’s easy going personality, helps her to “create a bond and relationship with [her] team.” Although she is the only captain she does not feel pressure it just means she has to “step up” as a leader. Ephrem notes although “[they] do not really know how to work as a team” they have great defense skills.
Everyday at practice, the team works on their goals. Marino expresses he is in “constant communication” with his players which establishes trust among them. He sets “high expectations” because he knows his team can handle them. He also makes sure his players know feel comfortable making mistakes because he has “their back.” As a team they are all striving for a goal and each time they achieve a goal it means they are “progressing forward in the right direction.”
Christine Nguyen, a senior on the team is certain for a successful season. Nguyen states that the “team is filled with girls who have a lot of experience in basketball.” She mentions “running plays” is a strength of the team. However the team needs to work on “driving to the hoop” and their “communication skills.” Overall, Nguyen states the team is trying to improve their record because “last season did not go as planned.”
On December 16, they had their first game at home against Medford. Marino noticed that his team was “nervous.” In the first quarter the score was 3-3. However, as the game progressed the girls had “built chemistry” and “started to believe in themselves.” The team dominated in the second half, and the final score was 31-16.
On Wednesday, December 18th, Malden High’s Varsity Girls Basketball Team had their fifth game of the season. They went against Charlestown High School and Malden took the win with a victory of 48 to 32.
Most would agree that being on the team for MHS is an accomplishment, but it is also considerably hard. The students chosen for varsity are in it for a reason, which means there is a lot of commitment and responsibility that comes with being on the team. They would still need to attend practices regardless of whether or not they have had an off day, and must prepare to come back strong.
From Sophomore, Whitney Jean-Bapsite’s point of view, she thinks the whole team overall played very well during the game. They made a comeback by the second half of the quarter and for that reason, she is “proud of all of [them].” Although Jean-Bapsite thought she could have done better, she knows there will be plenty of more games to make up for it and in those ways, will try to make improvements. Despite winning the game, she shared that “[the team] as a group, need to work on their communication with each other, as well as on [their] plays.”
Freshman Nyandang (Anna) Yak, added that she was very happy with how the game went. She expressed that “there might have been a setback during the first quarter, but [they] caught up super quick by second quarter.” At first it was 21 to 6 but then, the team pulled through and got up 33 to 33 with Charlestown in no time.”
On Tuesday, January 7th, Malden High’s Girls Varsity Basketball team had a game against Lynn Classical. For the first time in the 4 years Scott Marino has been coaching Malden High Girls Basketball, Malden beat Lynn Classical. The girls team’s record is currently 4-1 this season.
Marino described the game to be a “complete team effort.” He believed the girls fought hard and played a great game which resulted in a victory. Marino wishes that the girls rebounded the ball better that night to make more points, and also wishes that the girls took more opportunities to score. He claims the girls were careless with the ball at times, but he is still happy with the outcome of the game.
The team’s number one goal is to qualify for the state tournament. To qualify, you must win 50% of your games during the season. Malden High’s Girls Basketball program has not made it to states in 19 years, but they are headed there this season!
Marino craves a bigger crowd for every game. He wishes that his team got the same amount of fans and recognition as Boys Basketball. He states that “girls athletics need to be put on the map.” Not only does Marino want the gym to be packed during their games, he claims “[they] should have cheerleaders.” After an exciting game like this one, Marino hopes the crowd can come back even stronger and support them.
The girls are working together to create a new identity for themselves. As they strategize and plan for the future, they make sure to make every practice and game count; in hopes they qualify for the state tournament.