Girls shoot for a ticket to the playoffs


Coach Coward in his English classroom

Kayla Chavier, Features Editor

After losing by only one point in the second round of playoffs during the winter season of 2014, the Westford Academy Girls’ Basketball team is shooting for a deep playoff run.  With practice beginning the first Monday after Thanksgiving, Coach Russell Coward is thankful that the girls are ready and there are limited injuries among players.

“If we’re healthy, I think that provides a really good base for us to have a good season this year,” said Coward.

The beginning of the 2014 winter season was difficult due to player Karly Bigham’s injuries and the absence of successful seniors from the previous season.  After a rocky start, the team managed to bounce back and gain a spot in the playoffs.  Thanks to Liz Arnold’s two free throws, the team beat Algonquin by one with little time remaining in the first round.  However in the second round, they lost to Franklin 50-49. 

For this winter season, Coward is looking for his players to “take that next step”. By building complex offensive and defensive plays, Coward intends to surprise teams from other towns and regain the rhythm from two years beforehand where they made it to the state championship.

This goal just might be possible under the leadership of the carefully selected captains–seniors Karly Bigham and Maddie Russell and junior Camille Desrochers.

“All three of them are excellent leaders.  At this point now, they’re still a little on the quiet side, however that’s not a bad thing because I’m probably way too loud so it’s a good balance,” said Coward.

Despite quiet demeanors, the captains certainly understand the game and will help the team in any way possible.

“All three are very intelligent basketball players.  They really understand the system and are very good at helping out the other kids who might be confused.  Honestly all three of them lead by example.  They’re always working very hard, playing as hard as they can, encouraging people, and they’ve been better than what I’ve hoped for. I’ve been very pleased with their efforts,” said Coward.

The team has other star players such as Junior Angela Alibrandi who is a DCL all-star and will be the starting center. Other strong players include sophomores Emily Bramanti and Elizabeth Arnold and freshman Ally Mulhern.

Despite several players’ injuries that occurred recently, Coward reassures that the team will not be set back too far.

“It’s more important to me to be ready for the playoffs than it is to worry about the first couple games of the season,” said Coward.

The girls will play 20 regular season games overall with 10 DCL large games, 3 games versus smaller schools, and 7 non-league games.  With strong players and motivational captains, Coward is optimistic that the team will have a successful season.

“I think I have a very good understanding with our players. They work very hard. […] I think that we are all hoping to repeat what we did two years ago and at least make a nice tournament run.  It was nice to win a game and make the second round last year, but I think we’d all like to do a little better than that this year,” said Coward.