Working Hard, Girls Basketball Sees Success this Season

Esther Cull-Kahn, Contributing Writer

If asked about the best sport at CRLS, many would immediately mention boys basketball. Although the boys team deserves recognition, the girls basketball program is often overlooked. Led by Coach Reece Freeman, the varsity team is currently 12-2 in the highly competitive Dual Country League and is expected to finish off the season strong. 

On every level—freshman, junior varsity, and varsity—girls basketball is a rigorous, no-nonsense program. The foundation of the team is based on hard work and grit, as well as effective teamwork, which means players are constantly lifting each other up and encouraging each other to improve. During practice, players are pushed to condition, practice technique, and learn plays as a group. Coach Reese emphasizes that any lack of hard work or laziness will not be tolerated. He teaches that you get out what you put in, which leaves players with a personal responsibility to boost their abilities. Without the expectation of hard work throughout the program, the team would not have achieved the success it has now. Cortland Townes, one of the assistant coaches, told the Register Forum, “The team is a reflection of the coaching staff, the energy, the selflessness, passion, and dedication—it all goes to show that players will respond to consistency from an adult in their lives.”

Last year, the team started off with a bang with an almost undefeated season; the record was 10-1. Tragedy struck when team captain Kalkidan Mamo (committed to UMass Lowell) suffered a serious injury within the first half of the season, leaving the team without their best player. Following Mamo’s injury, co-captain Ella Simonsen had to sit out the remainder of the season due to shin splints. After the loss of two core players, the other members of the team were obligated to step up and fill their place. Instead of being discouraged by the loss, other players were motivated to get better and make it to playoffs. 

This year’s team is expected to introduce a higher level of play, as the team has not been affected by any injuries so far. Coach Reece believes that Cambridge can win the league and have a good run in the state tournament. Three key players are captains Sophia Vital ’22, Kizziah Ruff ’21, and Ella Simonsen ’20. Vital, a guard, who has been on the varsity team since freshman year, is an outstanding player on both sides of the ball. In her words, “Basketball is something I am really passionate about. As a sophomore being captain on this team, I’ve really had to step up and be a leader on and off the court for my team.” In addition to being one of the strongest players on the team, she is also one of the best point guards in the state. Ruff, another guard, is one of the players who has improved the most and helps set the high expectations in the program. As well as being crucial to the success of the team, she is one of the leading shooters in the state. Simonsen, a center, in her last year of high school basketball, is known for always having a positive attitude on and off the court. Her positivity boosts both maturity and good spirit on the team, which is a key for success. With those qualities in mind, the 2020 girls varsity basketball team looks forward to the upcoming season and beyond. 

This piece also appears in our January 2020 print edition.