Wareham girls' basketball win championship, confidence
The 5th and 6th grade girls travel basketball team has a lofty goal for the next few seasons.
“We want to be the team who hasn’t been beaten in years,” says Head Coach Kira Correia.
If that’s the goal, the team is well on their way. Last year’s quiet season saw the team finish second to last in the Kingston Sports Center division in which the played. But now the tide has turned. This year, the team won its division championship, held over the first weekend of March.
“They were thrilled,” said Assistant Coach RandiLynn Correia, Kira’s cousin. Both attribute the slow first season to a lack of experience. Last year was the first time the girls had played in such a competitive league and, according to the coaches, they didn’t know what to expect.
This year the team's confidence rose quickly. They finished the season with a record of 10-3, the only losses being to Marshfield and one particular foe – Carver.
“They haven’t lost in three years!” said Kira. “Our goal this year was to beat them.”
Unfortunately that was never accomplished, but the team closed the winning margin at every game. From a 7-point loss at its first meeting of the season, the team led most of the final game against Carver and eventually lost by one basket.
“By the end of the year, they knew they could do it,” Kira said. “Every time they won, they were more sure that they could win.”
Both coaches enjoy coming to the practices on Friday nights, after a long week in the office. “They bring out the kid in us!” RandiLynn said. “It makes it fun for us to go in and laugh with them.”
She added that the team has also taught both coaches patience.
“Sometimes we forget they’re only fifth and sixth graders. They’re so mature, we talk to them like they’re little adults," she said. "And then they say something random and – oh, that’s right, you’re only in fifth grade!”
The coaches say that the team’s biggest challenge has been paying attention.
“We’d show them plays, and we’d drill them, and they’d forget the next day,” said RandiLynn. “Which, they’re in fifth and sixth grade, so it’s fine, but we wanted them to try and remember.”
Kira and RandiLynn fixed the problem with an ingenious solution: they made the team play the coaches in a practice scrimmage.
“I think they learned more from watching us play than they did from us explaining things on the sideline,” Kira noted. The game the team played the next day was one of their best games of the season.
Both coaches work hard to foster an atmosphere of friendship amongst teammates. “We both played in high school,” RandiLynn explained. “I always looked up to the older girls. It gave me something to work towards, something to look forward to, watching them play.”
She said she hopes to bring that same feeling to her players.
That’s why she hopes to keep the team together for as long as possible. Currently, the team only plays through the winter season, which operates from December to the first weekend of March. However summer opportunities exist for play both on Wareham’s Junior Varsity team and through the regional Amateur Athletic Union teams in the area. Kira and RandiLynn are hoping to add a summer and fall travel team for the girls as well. The only trouble is booking time on the court, but both coaches said they are hard at work.
“My favorite part of basketball was spending time with my teammates. Some of the best relationships came out of that team. I want that for them,” said Kira.