On Saturday afternoon, Deerfield Academy traveled to Loomis Chaffee and secured a 29-23 road victory in a contest that proved to be much more than the final score. Throughout the season, Head Coach Dr. Khaleh Thomas has underscored her belief in defense and playing both halves of the game. On Saturday, Deerfield played tenacious defense and won both halves of this contest. While the Green quickly found itself down 6-0 early on as the result of two quick-hitting threes from Loomis guard Nalinda Wanikpun ’21, Deerfield native Juliette Lowe ’21 popped the cords with a splash from three-point range. Lowe’s three-pointer was the spark the Green needed to start flowing. Deerfield closed out the half with an 11-5 run characterized by patient offense, ball security, and stout defense. The backcourt triumvirate of Captain Jada Howard ’19, Katie Alonso’19, and Kate Hickey ’20 proved proficient in dishing assists while limiting turnovers, and Whitney Vogt ’20, Selena Martineau ’19, and Samara Cummings ’20 handled the tough assignment in the paint of securing rebounds and redirecting shots against a talented Loomis squad.
At the start of the second half, Deerfield and Loomis both competed at a high level. Loomis’ Tess Carty ’20, who led all scorers with 11 points, was also a factor on defense, disrupting passes and helping Loomis chip away at the Deerfield lead. Then it happened. With three minutes left, Loomis’ Manou Crawford hit a three-pointer that put her team ahead 23-22. But the lead proved to be short-lived as Lexi Baker ’19 answered with a three of her own, giving Deerfield a 25-23 lead. The Green would never look back as their defense held the door in a competitive contest.
Baker ’19 poured in 6 points, all in the second half, and Vera Grace Menafee ’20 led all Deerfield scorers with 9 points to go along with her 5 rebounds. Guard Ruby Chase ’21 competed well and contributed 5 points, and Sami Dulam’s ’21 baseline layup off a pump fake will live on as a shot that embodies the virtues of patience on offense. Annie Kane ’20 and Cummings ’20 both tipped in buckets on behalf of Deerfield.
More than final scores, this season for the Green has revolved around the concept of team, of playing for one another, of each player doing her job. Along these lines, the greatest compliment a coach can receive is that her team plays hard for her, and such was the case for Dr. Khaleh Thomas when her team, led by Captains Howard ’19 and Nicole Da Costa ’19, not only played hard for the entire game but ran towards her after the final buzzer for one collective and celebratory hug, an image that in itself tells the story of this game.