With four victories in the bag offset by only one nail-biter defeat, the Paly varsity girl’s basketball team has started off leagues  with a solid footing.

According to freshman player Maddie Atwater, much of the success and chemistry the team has seen so far can be attributed to the training system executed throughout the pre-season.

“Crossfit and all the conditioning we did definitely helped and we are still doing a bunch of conditioning which is helping us as a team,” Atwater said. “We are faster and stronger all together.”

Senior player Annie Susco agreed, stressing that the key difference from the team last year was an increased variability and a willingness to embrace new plays as part of the team’s overall strategy.

“It is 100 percent different this year, and there is very little in common,” Susco said. “All the players on the team have completely different roles this season and we have so many new players.”

Susco also highlighted the key roles of several new underclassmen who are working hard to make strong contributions to the team effort. According to Susco, the presence of new players offers several opportunities for the team to focus on bonding and building a stronger team spirit.

“We have four freshmen who need to step up and be key players on the team as freshmen, which is hard,” Susco said. “We are a lot smaller and a lot younger, but a lot closer.”

While the transition to high school basketball was slightly challenging for the new players, the freshmen were helped by their acquaintance with many of the players on the team from out-of-school leagues, according to freshmen Siggie Bengston.

“I did not have a very good middle school team and this is definitely different, but both [Maddy and I] have played a league with everyone who plays here at Paly,” Bernston said. “It is obviously a little more pressure, but that can be expected.”

Despite the challenges, Atwater feels that the experience of being thrown right into the deep-end will prove to be extremely beneficial in the long run.

“The competition is a lot harder this year than it was in eighth grade and all throughout middle school,” Atwater said. “It’s hard but it’s good that we are getting the experience early.”

Overall, the team is sure they can fulfill their goals despite their loss to Lynbrook.

“We have succeeded in our goal for leagues so far,” Susco said. “We did lose to Lynbrook, but we did what we needed to do. We know that they are beatable next time we see them.”

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