Challenges remain for girls varsity basketball as season comes to a close

Jan 29, 2021

Despite having what Coach Kyle Erha described as a good “defensive position” at the start of the game on Friday, Jan. 29, the Wareham girls varsity basketball team didn’t come close to pulling off a win.

With a final score of 61-12, the Vikings were solidly defeated by the Apponequet girls basketball team during their seventh game of the season. This loss brought the team to a 0-7 record.

Even with the losing outcome, Erha said he still believes the team is on track to finish the season as strong as possible.

During Friday’s game, he said he saw the team’s defense — which had been particularly strong at the start of the season before it deteriorated — improve. 

“Tonight was the first time I feel like I’ve seen us play defense really really well again,” he said. 

The Vikings weren’t able to keep up the momentum, but Erha was pleased that for about the first five minutes of the game, the score stayed low and the two teams weren’t separated by much. Erha said the team was coming together and even “rebounding better, too.”

But the progress wasn’t enough. As the game continued, things unraveled for the Vikings.

Part of the challenge has been that the Vikings were up against more practiced teams, Erha said. Other varsity teams’ players have often been on their high school team longer or have come from a highly competitive town program.

“We are extremely young and extremely inexperienced,” Erha said. “There’s not nearly the level of youth development in this town as in other towns right now.” 

He also said some of his younger players are playing on a team or playing competitively for the first time. 

The team has also faced other challenges. Erha said they’ve lost players to illness and injury, including a recent concussion that put one of the team’s starters out for the season.

“We were shallow to begin with with experience,” he said. “And we have just been losing that throughout the season.”

Short on experienced players in Friday’s game, Erha said he started an eighth and a ninth grader who hadn’t played at the varsity level until this season. 

“So that’s how I paint the picture of us losing 61-12 and saying, ‘it wasn’t that bad,’” he said with a laugh.

Erha said that the team knew they were going up against a strong team in the Apponequet Lakers, so they were hoping to use the game as a learning experience. 

“If we could take a handful of actions that were good out of this game and have them both mentally and get them on film, that would go a long way for us,” Erha explained. “And I think we did that.” 

Erha said he and the team are looking to the future — both the upcoming conference tournament at the beginning of February and the future of the varsity team in general. 

As soon as it’s safe, he said he plans to host clinics and events to connect with the girls who participate in youth basketball in Wareham. He said this would help create a foundation that would lead to a stronger, more experienced team in years to come. 

“I really want us to connect with the younger kids, even the kids who haven’t played basketball yet,” he said. “We’ve got to get a love of the game into the girls in town.”

The team’s next game will stream live on the Wareham Community Television Facebook page at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 2.