Mountie girls learn lessons through efficient practice and chemistry
WILLIAMSTOWN -- Proper execution, especially in clutch situations, is a result of solid coaching and having trust in your teammates to make the right decision with the ball.
Monday night, the youthful Mount Greylock girls basketball team executed when it needed to, as Lucy Barrett hit a game-winning layup with 2.6 seconds left on the clock to sink Wahconah.
The play was not necessarily designed for her, but there was no question of who was going to take the shot.
"We had drawn up a play, but their defense wasn't going to let us run what we wanted to," Barrett said. "So I got the ball from Kelsey [Orpin], drove to the basket and it went in."
"We haven't done much late-game situation [drills]," Greylock coach Paul Barrett said. "We've done some, but not a whole lot and there are so many late-game scenarios.
"We weren't going to call a timeout, so with 11.6 seconds left, Lucy took it to the basket and hit the shot."
Monday's win brings the Mounties' record to 5-3, one win shy of matching their win total of last season.
The team's improvement in the win column is a result of efficient practices and improving team chemistry on and off the court.
On the court, Paul Barrett said he spends about 90 percent of practice time teaching his young team. The ninth-year head coach gives his players freedom to make mistakes, but he does not hesitate to stop a drill to give instructions.
He said his players can learn from every possession during practice, and believes in giving feedback whenever necessary.
"We're maturing to the point where we're a little more settled down," he said. "We're making bigger strides every day in practice.
"It's a work in progress. We have two freshmen, a sophomore, a junior and a senior starting. It's a whole lot of teaching, but that's the fun part."
Off the court, the Mounties are building camaraderie through team-building activities such as pasta parties. The team gathers before games to watch a movie and relax while having a meal together.
Senior MacKenzie Flynn said these team activities allow the returning players to better integrate newcomers like Jenna Benzinger into the team.
"Especially this year, more than last, we're more connected as a team," Flynn said. "Jenna is in her first year playing with us, but I feel like we've taken her under our wing, and she's feeling more comfortable with us."
The Mounties will have a chance for their sixth win Friday night against St. Joseph.
The sixth win, whenever it comes, will be a small milestone for the team, but Barrett said his team has bigger goals in mind.
"That was our unspoken expectation that we were going to improve on last year's record," Barrett said. "We want to qualify for Western Mass. It's been two or three years [since qualifying] and we want to get back."
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