Girls’ bball in rebuilding mode

“We haven’t been very successful over the past few years,” said Ingrid Salvador, a sophomore guard and the captain of the girls’ basketball team. The team, under second year coach Dustin James, has struggled to win consistently and are just now starting to rebuild.

Last year the team had a proficient offense (46.8 points per game) led by fourth year seniors Jamie Staples (19 points per game) and Jada Glasgow (13.6 points per game). However, their defense let them down as they went just 3-18.

This season, Salvador believed they missed a veteran presence.

“We lost a lot of seniors,” she said. “All but one of our starters actually, and they all did some really good stuff for us morale-wise, so they were big losses.”

This year it was an anemic offense that contributed to the Hurricanes struggles. They averaged just 35.7 points per game, coming in 69 out of 78 in Western Massachusetts division one girls’ basketball. After a season ending 66-42 loss to Chicopee on February 6 the Hurricanes had to deal with their second consecutive three-win season.

Freshman guard Erin Klaes took on most of the scoring burden, averaging 13.8 points per game. Salvador, the team’s second highest scorer, averaged 6 a game, a slight decrease from her 6.4 last year.

These players are potential building blocks for the future but the program is suffering from a lack of varsity-caliber players today.

James has chosen to attempt to turn around the program by bringing in new talent and seeing what they can do, rather than relying on established players.

“There are some really promising athletes in the middle school who even played with us at the end of last season,” said Salvador.

One example of this is Petua Mukimba, a forward/center in the class of 2021. She played in the final 11 games of the season and averaged 9.8 points per game.

While her game may be raw now, Salvador believes that “she’s gonna be a big contributor to our varsity program next season. She’s gonna add height and skill in the post for us.”

Rather than concentrating on winning now, the girls “wanted to make a community between the players, grow as a team, and rebuild the program after a rough few years,” said Salvador.

Coach James also hopes that his players learn some valuable life lessons from being on his team, like he did in high school.

“My high school coaches helped me in the development of becoming a better person through athletics, which I hope to translate to my players along the way as well,” he said.