By: Simone Dunbar — Managing Editor
The return to school after winter break marks the start of week two of Sharon Girls’ basketball, and the Lady Eagles are hitting the ground running. In Sharon’s home opener on Tuesday, they defeated Taunton with a final score of 54 – 45.
“Taunton is always a competitive game with us, and we knew we would have to fight for the win,” said senior Captain Trinity Payne.
Junior Captain Tess Letendre came into this game desperately hoping for a win. “I knew Taunton was beatable, but our team had not practiced for a week. I knew we’d come out a little rusty,” said Letendre. Despite her nervousness before the game, Letendre says she was confident Sharon had the talent to pull a win.
Payne says the game itself was very rough, and the other team played a little dirty, which got in players’ heads. “Parents of the other team don’t help either when they sit with our parents and continuously have rude and uncalled-for comments,” she said.
Payne says that the team is finally starting to work together and better understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
“I think some of our strengths for this game were finally recognizing our inside game. For myself, I finally drove to the basketball and got physical down low. We corrected some of the issues we had with breaking the press towards the end of the game, and we shot pretty well from the foul and three-point lines,” Payne said.
Letendre agrees with Payne saying, “I see improvements with the 3 weeks we’ve had together. All in all, it’s been great to work with this team and see everyone’s potential show in their playing.”
Unfortunately, after a big win against Taunton, Sharon fell to East Bridgewater on Wednesday.
Payne says that East Bridgewater is a very competitive team. With their two best players absent, East Bridgewater had something to prove. Payne says they definitely stepped up. “We were able to stick with them for the first three or so quarters, but by the end, they [tired] us out, and we struggled to get back on defense,” she said. Payne attributes the rusty playing to the fact that they were unable to practice over winter break due to COVID issues.
“Losing that game was hard because it would’ve been nice to have another win for the record,” Payne said.
Both games this week were on the Eagles’ home court. Much of the allure of home games is the overwhelming energy of the “Nest”, Sharon’s cheering section, but on Tuesday and Wednesday, the Nest was nowhere to be found. More sound was heard from the visiting teams than from the home team fans themselves.
Payne says it was no surprise when they arrived at the gym and viewed nearly empty stands at the start of the varsity game. “Girls’ basketball never tends to have a big crowd and none of the varsity girls were surprised that there was no Nest,” she said.
Although the energy of an audience helps with motivation, Letendre says she is personally indifferent to a crowd. “The entire season last year we lacked a crowd due to COVID, and it didn’t necessarily take a toll on the team,” Letendre said.
“With this, after seeing the entire town of Taunton travel with the team, I think that if we were to have more people cheering us on it would be much more exhilarating than not having a Nest at all,” Letendre added.
In contrast, the boys’ basketball team sells out home game tickets. Evidently, there is less of a draw to spectate girls’ sports than boys’.
“I know that a lot of people think that girls’ sports can be less enjoyable, but they really missed a good game against Taunton. When we play our more competitive games against towns like North Attleboro and Stoughton they are exciting, and people should come to watch,” concluded Payne.