Girls basketball team attempts to overcome injuries, play with grit


Evan Smyth, Staff Writer

The girls basketball team is hoping for an improvement over last year’s 8-11 finish, but many injuries have been plaguing the team.

“We have had some injuries to two of our key returning starters from last seasons, so we are a very young team this season,” Varsity coach Adam Sheldon said. “We have some good pieces and as the season progresses and they gain more experience, we will continue to get better.”

Younger teams need to work to gel, according to coach Sheldon.

“We are a very young group that needs to build chemistry and confidence,” coach Sheldon said. “As a group we will need to learn how to win together and fine tune a lot of the fundamentals of the game in order to make us successful as a whole.”

Senior captain Delaney Norgrove is hoping that, despite their injuries, the team can improve every day.

“We had a rough start due to injuries,” Norgrove said. “Zo Schultz and Paola Barazza are both out from ACL surgery and I am having reconstructive knee surgery. This took our number from 11 to eight healthy bodies.”

Sophomore McKenzie Gruzwalski shared Norgrove’s opinion on the team’s injured players.

“We have a couple injuries right now, some are key players, but we keep working through it and giving it our all to hope we have a good season,” Gruzwalski said. “There are minimal subs, so there is a lot of playing time so we are getting in shape and there is growing potential for our team.”


When compensating for injuries, the team leaders will need to come up strong.

“Jenna Norgrove has really stepped up as the leader of our team and had to assume this role as a sophomore because of all the injuries,” Norgrove said about her younger sister. “My sister is making me proud.”

Senior captain Zo Schultz is out for the season with an injury. She too thinks that the younger of the Norgrove sisters has emerged as a leader.

“The team is working hard even after losing starters due to injury,” Schultz said. “Jenna Norgrove has taken a huge step up as a sophomore leading the team.”

Coach Sheldon explains what practices look like. 

“We will engage in a lot of skill work at our practices this season; we always start with some basic stretching and warm up drills and then move into skill work and transition drills,” coach Sheldon said. “We review and work on our offensive sets and plays and then spend quite a bit of time on defense and rebounding. As the season progresses, we add preparation for opponents on a game-by-game basis.”

Hawkins also shared what she feels are some assets that she will be able to take advantage of while she is on the court.

“[One of my assets is] taking the ball to the hoop,” Hawkins said. “If I drive the lane I’m able to get to the free throw line. My free throws are probably one of my strongest points of my game.”

Coach Sheldon also explains the team’s strengths.

“As a team these ladies are a very competitive and gritty group,” coach Sheldon said. “We will utilize these qualities on the defensive end of the floor and really put an emphasis on shutting other teams down.”

Norgrove describes the girls time bonding as a group during their off-days through many different methods from pasta parties to team sleepovers.

“We always have team sleepovers, which are a lot of fun and help everyone get to know each other better,” Norgrove said. “We have pasta parties before some of our games and sometimes after practices or games, we all grab something to eat.”

Coach Sheldon also weighed in on the girl’s various ways of bonding with each other.  

“It is important for them to understand and know that everyone has each other’s back both on and off the court,” coach Sheldon said

Along with their bonding activities, the team has many traditions that carry over from year to year.

“Over the three years I’ve been on Varsity, we’ve had the same pregame routine; we stretch and then sit in a circle and go through team and individual goals for the game,” Norgrove said. “Then we say a team prayer or someone gets us pumped up. We have little traditions like standing when someone comes out of a game.”

Coach Sheldon also shared what he thinks are the important rituals that they do from year to year.

“We always do some sort of team charity work for the holidays; we have rung the bell for the Salvation Army, adopted families for the holidays [and more],” coach Sheldon said. “We also have a very traditional senior night ceremony that the seniors and underclassmen all look forward to.”

He also states that they hardest opponents on their schedule are SCHS and AHS.

“Without a doubt, year in and year out we look forward to taking on our two counterpart schools from our city Rochester,” coach Sheldon said.

Coach Sheldon hopes the school shows up to support the team for these key rival games.

“I would really encourage the students to come out and support our girls basketball teams this season,” coach Sheldon said. “These girls work very hard day in and day out to represent our school both on and off the court and I know they appreciate any support we get from fellow students and staff. Go Falcons.”