By Bob York
There’s a youth movement going on in the Big Green girls basketball program and guessing from the seven sophomores and three freshmen who earned a spot on this winter’s roster, that youth movement is here to stay for a while.
With such an abundance of youth, this Deerfield squad experienced some growing pains, as it finished the season with a 6-15 record, “but with a few less injuries, we could have easily turned things around and finished at 15-6,” said coach Darnel Barnes of his squad which dropped six of those 15 setbacks by a margin of 10 or fewer points.
Despite the youthfulness of his squad, however, Barnes admitted that he wouldn’t have been totally surprised if his Big Green had ended up at 15-6. And that’s because this youth movement began last season and he welcomed back his top two scorers and his No.1 rebounder to the fold.
Libby Murray (14) led the Deerfield scoring charts for the second straight season, knocking down an average of 8.5 points a game. The 5-10 forward also hauled down an average of seven rebounds a game and together, they earned her a berth on the Western New England Girls Basketball League All-Star team.
Becca Harrington (14), who was situated in the backcourt, was the Big Green’s second leading scorer this winter, as she pumped in an average of seven points a game. Joining Harrington in the backcourt were seniors Ali Schulz, Tierney Griff and Laura Whitehill. Both Schulz and Griff ended up sharing this year’s Coaches Award, while Whitehill took home the team’s Most Improved Player Award.
Another member of the sophomore class is center Caroline Ashford, who, at 6-0, led the team in rebounding as a freshman and was doing the same this winter, as well as averaging six points a game, until a separated shoulder sidelined her for most of January. Kate Ginna (14), who stands in at 5-10, took over the slot and “did a very nice job,” according to Barnes, as she averaged six points and five rebounds a game during her stint.
Barnes had a deep team this year and the youth movement will ensure he has plenty of depth to choose from next season as well. Junior Liz Byrne will be found in the backcourt once again, as will sophomore Tally Behrionger and freshman Caroline Coppinger. Up front, youngsters such as sophomores Kay Kay Ali, Lili Brown and freshman Kemi Akande will give Barnes plenty to choose from.