Watertown High girls’ basketball has perfect recipe for success

Seven seniors help Raiders get off to 3-0 start

The+Watertown+High+girls%27+basketball+team+is+experienced+%28seven+seniors%29+and+talented+%28reigning+Division+2+North+champs%29.

Raider Times photo / Eva Alessandroni

The Watertown High girls' basketball team is experienced (seven seniors) and talented (reigning Division 2 North champs).

Eva Alessandroni, Raider Times Staff

After winning the Middlesex League and the North sectionals, and being just one win away from competing for the state championship, the Watertown High School girls’ basketball team has its eyes on the prize.

      This year, seven seniors return for one more round; Amanda Cardoso, Lily Pennington, MacKenzie Hand, Felicia Korte, and captains Nicole Lanzo, Michaela Antonellis, and Katelyn Rourke. 

Felicia Korte at the foul line at Watertown's home opener against Winchester on Dec. 18, 2015.
Raider Times photo / Eva Alessandroni
Felicia Korte at the foul line at Watertown’s home opener against Winchester on Dec. 18, 2015.

     “We have a big senior class — it’s scary how many we’ll be losing after this year, but we also have some great girls under them like [juniors] Alexis Catsoulis, Jenna McMahon, Hanna McMahon, and Shannon Murphy,” said WHS head coach Pat Ferdinand.

With all these girls’ talents combined, this team has the ability to do some great things this season.

Last season’s team won its first 21 games and advanced to the Division 2 EMass title game at TD Garden. The Raiders graduated its two senior captains from last season, shooting guards Gianna Coppola, and Rachel Morris, leaving some big shoes to fill.

Ferdinand was asked how this team looks, with such scorers gone.

    “They’re two of the best 3-point shooters we’ve ever had in the program, so this season is very different from last, where we have to counter that success in a different way this year,’’ he said. “The key is to develop the kids. They’re all working very hard this year, which makes it easier.”

The team has three wins under its belt so far. The first came at Arlington,  52-25, on Tuesday, Dec. 15. The second came in the home opener Friday, Dec. 18, against Winchester. The Raiders dominated that game from the start. At the end of the first quarter, they led, 22-3, giving insight to a very promising season.

On the court, the girls moved as one solid unit throughout their smashing 54-15 victory.

“Everyone contributes good ball movement,” Ferdinand said. “Our team isn’t made up of just a couple really good players. Each person is essential on the court.”

All three captains agree that the team’s power comes from each player’s unique strengths all coming together as one on game night.

Tipoff at the Watertown High girls' basketball home opener vs. Winchester on Friday, Dec. 18, 2015.
Raider Times photo / Eva Alessandroni
Tipoff at the Watertown High girls’ basketball home opener vs. Winchester on Friday, Dec. 18, 2015.

“It’s good to see the whole program work hard every day at practice and knowing that each night someone else could step up, and if they do their part, we can be successful” said Lanzo. “At the end of the season, we want to be able to say we gave our all, and we don’t want to have regrets.

“We all have one overarching goal by the end of the season, but for now we look at it one day at a time”.  

When asked how this season looks to being shaping up, Rourke explained, “Every year the team comes back together knowing that it won’t be the same as the year before. So every practice and game we stress the little details and put into play whatever Coach Pat tells us,” she said. “It’s hard to say how we’re going to look for the rest of the season, but right now with the way we are working, it will be good, and I’m excited to see how it goes.”

Antonellis agreed with her fellow captains.

“Well I think we’re having an amazing start to the season,” she said. “Obviously there are things we need to work on and we need to improve, but I’m very excited about this team.

“We have a very strong starting five, and we have all been playing together for so many years now, so it’s easy playing with them. And we have a solid bench, so we have all areas covered. I’m looking forward to seeing how the next few months go.”

The Raiders won their third game on Monday, Dec. 21, beating Reading, 44-25. They will play at home on Wednesday, Dec. 23, against Burlington at 7 p.m.

With such a strong group of athletes, and three wins under their belt already, the girls are showing positive signs. Only time will tell, but with a group like this, under Pat Ferdinand’s guidance, the Raiders have a chance to have another special season.

–Dec. 21, 2015–