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Harriton girls’ basketball continues to evolve


Rosemont >> After seeing her team’s late fourth quarter lead against Strath Haven disappear Jan. 3, Harriton girls’ basketball head coach Kacy McNichol was hopeful this game would have a different conclusion from contests earlier this season.
With the score tied at 42-42 and 10 seconds left, Strath Haven’s Nicole McNeely drove the lane and put up a lay-up that hit off the back rim and came down into the hands of Harriton’s Christina Brown. The ball then got knocked loose and was rolling near the baseline before Harriton freshman Lexy Calhoun corralled the loose ball and got fouled.
With her team in the double bonus, Calhoun calmly stepped to the line and knocked down two free throws to give her team a 44-42 lead.
Haven got one final chance but that opportunity came up empty and the visiting Rams emerged victorious, rewarded for their hard work.
“This win is big,” said senior captain Meg Wilcox, who finished with 11 points (including three 3-pointers). “We lost some close games early this season and hopefully this win will give us confidence going forward.”
“My team treats each day as a new day and are confident,” said McNichol. “If you walked into our practice you would never know that we have struggled to win games. We are extremely small in numbers but these eight kids continue to push themselves and we continue to talk about becoming better than we were yesterday. As a coach, I want to instill the game of basketball but I also want to instill life lessons along the way that basketball has taught me.”
Part of life is dealing with adversity, and the Harriton girls’ basketball team has already experienced enough in one month to last a season. While the road ahead does not get any easier, the Rams’ key leadership knows the unique position of the team.
“Leadership is one of the things that we talk about a lot with our upperclassmen,” said McNichol. “We don’t return a lot of experience so I count on my upperclassmen to set a good example and show our freshmen and sophomores what it takes. Meg (Wilcox), Christina (Brown) and Reilly (Short) are challenged every day to set the tone in the gym by the way they compete in practice and in games. These three kids are in a very unique position not many high school basketball teams have – one senior and two juniors. The younger kids follow their lead, and if they play with composure during games good things happen for us.”
After suffering tough losses early on, the Rams’ positive attitude helped them capture two out of their last three contests (as of Jan. 8).
“We are in a different place than the program has been in before, but our experienced players are helping everyone find their role on the team,” said Calhoun. “They helped everyone keep their head up while we struggled in the beginning of the season and I feel this has helped us grow as a team.”
“We tell our younger players to shoot more,” said Brown. “They are going to play a big role in the team’s success and we are there to help them in practice if they have questions.”
Another asset the Rams have is an experienced coaching staff consisting of four coaches (McNichol, Carli Swartz, Michele McCaughern and Erika Ferro) that played high school and collegiate basketball.
“Our coaching staff is very important,” said Brown. “They have been through it and know how it’s going to be. We trust what they are saying and we just have to go out and excute.”
Calhoun added, “It’s amazing. They offer a different perspective and continue to share their experiences in practice and in games.”



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