The official student newspaper of Lower Merion High School since 1929

The Merionite

The official student newspaper of Lower Merion High School since 1929

The Merionite

The official student newspaper of Lower Merion High School since 1929

The Merionite

Rebounding to success

As a result of a changed environment and impressive players, the girls varsity basketball team has improved this season.

The girls varsity basketball team has had a season of ups and downs. Despite facing challenges and injuries along the way, the Aces have shown significant improvement on the court since last season. A shift in the program’s culture and consistently strong performances by players have given rise to improvement and moments to remember.Fourth year head coach Erin Laney had a specific goal in mind at the beginning of the season: improve. She stated that the team’s “expectations were to perform better and be more competitive than we were last year.” Coming off a three and seventeen record from the previous season, the Aces have already improved and reached this goal as they currently hold a five and fifteen record. Shooting guard Lindsay Gillston ’24 is proud of the team’s successes this year, believing that the season has gone “really well so far” and that they have “improved so much since last year.” 

One key to the squad’s newfound success is how the environment and atmosphere surrounding the team has changed in recent years. Laney recalls that when she “inherited this program, players would miss practice and games regularly.” Throughout her tenure as the head coach, Laney has worked hard to eliminate this culture of carelessness and replaced it with one full of dedication and discipline. The importance of this culture shift can’t be overstated. As Laney explained, “The reality of girls’ basketball is that the more aggressive team usually wins – regardless of talent (to a degree).” Thus, an increased drive to win is often all that’s needed to see massive improvement.

Christopher Bitterman ’24

Another cause can be attributed to the players themselves. The team consists of many seniors, a couple juniors, two sophomores, and one freshman. With a blend of returning talent and new faces, the team has worked to build chemistry and to help the younger players adjust to the competitiveness of high school athletics. They’ve accomplished this by practicing hard against one another, but also enjoying each other’s company on and off the court. Through a team trip to Orlando, the players bonded and built stronger connections. Gilston comments how the team has “created a fun and welcoming environment” for its members. The squad is led by the previous year’s team MVP and captain Eva Taberski ’23, who will be continuing her basketball career at Mount Holyoke next season. The power forward describes that through her leadership, she tries to “keep morale high during [the team’s] lower points of the season and to try to create a close knit community.” Unfortunately, with any competitive sport comes the risk of injury. In December, starting point guard Alexa Braslow ’26 suffered an ankle injury, which would linger and eventually end her season in mid-January. This was a devastating loss as Braslow acted as a floor marshal for the team, helping to organize her teammates across the court. Laney admits, “It’s been a tough season after losing Braslow.” Despite this setback, back-up point guard Morgan Debreaux ’23 stepped up to try to fill the hole, and has competed with confidence and played some of her best basketball to date.

Undoubtedly, the highlight of the season was the game against archrival Harriton. The Aces came out strong with an early lead, but the gap was closed by a third quarter Harriton run. The two teams battled it out for the remainder of the game, the difference never surpassing one or two scores. With the team down with less than a minute left, Alex Dore ’24 hit two free throws to tie it up at 51 apiece. After a Harriton miss, Braslow went coast-to-coast, securing a place at the line. Thanks to her experience in the soccer season, the significance of the moment didn’t evade her. After missing the first free throw, she stepped up and sank the second, winning the game. Although she’s proud of herself for keeping her composure, she’s “even more proud of the team for playing so hard and so well together to put us in the position to win.”

The girls basketball program has experienced a turbulent season. They’ve been plagued by injury and lost some games they should have won. However, they’ve improved as a team since last season and seen success as a result. As time goes on, the program’s shift in culture will only continue to improve and strengthen the team. Overall, the future looks bright for the Aces.

After a 43-42 loss to Chichester last season, the Aces took revenge with a monstrous 59-11 victory over the Eagles. | Photo courtesy of Allyson Altshuler ’24

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