Author Carley Smith '23 shares a preview of the girls' basketball season.
The Perkiomen School varsity girls’ basketball team looks to continue an ongoing rivalry with Barrack Hebrew Academy in 2020-2021. The Panthers fell just a few possessions short in a tough battle with the Cougars last winter. Although last year’s team was replete with talent and athleticism, it was lacking in basketball-IQ, or the mental aspect of the game. The disappointing loss to Barrack last season now drives the team’s motivation towards this winter, as they utilize the fall athletic season to work towards redemption.
The 2020-2021 girls’ varsity basketball team will be coached by Jessica Walton, (head coach) who enters her third season with the Panthers, and Raychel Shannon, who enters her second season. The team welcomes new talent as they have three very competitive members joining them this year. The first of these is Jade Marquez, a freshman from Lower Merion. Jade is a strong and aggressive guard who can finish well from the paint. Christina Sanchez, a junior guard from New York, is a solid three-point shooter and can also beat her defender in a 1v1. Finally, junior forward Rachel Dunn is a versatile player, having a quality mid-range shot as well as the ability to blow past defenders and finish with her back to the basket. Perk girls’ basketball also welcomes back key returning seniors. Last year, point guard Chardae Stone showed us her ability to set the pace and be a threat on both sides of the court. This year, Chardae’s leadership will be a vital contributor to the success of the team. Post player Naomi Knight will bring her strong shooting and ball-handling skills. Finally, Lualis Alvarado from Puerto Rico is an all-around versatile athlete. Although she is not practicing this fall while she plays varsity volleyball, Lu will return this winter as a skilled defender and an important piece of the girls’ basketball team.
This fall, the girls were given the opportunity to choose basketball as their afternoon activity to have more practice in preparation for their season in the winter. The COVID-19 protocols do limit their ability to practice live-game situations, but they have been using the time to work on their individual skills. Their practices on Mondays through Fridays typically consist of team shooting drills and small groups. Coach Walton says that a major point of emphasis for them is building their defense, including 1v1’s, defensive help, and rebounds. One weakness that hindered the team’s success last year was a lack of consistency. They identified the weakness towards the end of the season and began to see improvements, but they look to come out strong at the tip this winter.
In the winter, varsity girls’ basketball will compete in the Penn-Jersey League (as long as it is not canceled due to COVID-19) instead of the Tri-County League. With the outcome of last year’s game in mind, the girls look forward to an extremely competitive and successful season.
- C. Smith