In even the most idealistic of circumstances, being the first-year coach of a high school varsity sports program can provide a variety of challenges that must be dealt with and overcome as well.
Let’s just say that, due to the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, things are very much less than ideal these days. But that has stopped the optimism of the 2021 Chester Academy Varsity Girls Basketball Team and first-year Head Coach Lindsay Rock.
’A coach’s dream’
“Our team has been through some crazy times (like all other teams),’’ Rock said. “Each day we wake up not knowing what our status will be. One thing that is certain is that these girls are willing to adapt to anything. They just want to play and compete and they are willing to do anything to be on the floor. They never complain about practice times switching on the day of, more paperwork, or looking at the schedule with four plus games in one week. Each and every player is a coach’s dream.’’
A considerable among of contributors for the Hambletonians were part of the graduating class of 2020.
No captains, but great leaders
“Even though we lost many seniors from last year, we have a strong group of returners,’’ Rock said. “Both Allison Bono (sophomore, point guard) and Trinity Delgado (sophomore, power forward) will be a strong duo on the floor. Julia Cassano (shooting guard) and Sarah Milyko (small forward) are two senior returners that will be huge leaders this season. Ekhine Avalos (senior, shooting guard) and Isabel Trevisano (junior, small forward) are two newcomers that will be unstoppable this season.
“While our team does not have captains (we demand leadership from each and every player), our seniors have proved to be great leaders. Julia Cassano, Ekhine Avalos and Sarah Milyko have shown up to everything while putting 110 percent effort into workouts and practices, even when the season was in question. They have become great at communicating on and off the floor, they help the underclassman in countless ways, and they stay focused every minute we are on the floor.’’
Chester Academy is scheduled to travel to face Burke Catholic in Goshen on Saturday, Feb. 20.
Working hard every day
“The number one goal is for these girls to develop a strong team chemistry by improving defense, communication and trust,’’ Rock said. “Even though the season is very short, the coaches and I would like our team to learn as much as possible while staying both safe and healthy.
“I do believe we can compete with all teams in our Division,” the coach added. “While we are definitely rebuilding from our huge loss of last year’s senior group, we have a strong team that works hard every day.’’