By ALEX SPONSELLER The Cranston West girls basketball team featured one of the younger rosters in its division last season, but was able to qualify for a postseason berth. After falling in the preliminary round of the playoffs, the Lady Falcons are
By ALEX SPONSELLER The Cranston West girls basketball team featured one of the younger rosters in its division last season, but was able to qualify for a postseason berth.
After falling in the preliminary round of the playoffs, the Lady Falcons are focused heading into 2021 and look to take another step forward as they gain another season of experience.
Leading the way will be team captain Kaitlyn Antonucci, who is looking forward to stepping up into the leadership role.
“It’s awesome, I’m super excited to be captain and am very proud. We’re definitely coming in with a chip on our shoulder, we didn’t like the way our season ended so that’s definitely on our brains. Despite our age, we’re all very confident and have a lot of faith in each other as players,” said Antonucci.
The team will be led by its junior class, which features seven players that have played together since middle school.
“Our junior class has played together since we were in fifth or sixth grade. Most of us have played together and know each other really well, we’ve known each other for a long time. We have a lot of chemistry with this group and it’s been a lot of fun playing with them,” said Antonucci.
“We’re talented and have a lot of potential,” added coach PJ Thibodeau. “This year, we have really got to pick it up on defense against the better teams. We’re small, but we’ll be tough to play since we have depth. We have a lot of good pieces in a lot of areas, we’re smart, it’s exciting to have what we have. We had a good season last year, but we only had one senior and one junior so we had to give some things up. One of those was defense, which hurt us in some of those games. This year will be about chemistry and taking that next step. Our tryouts and practices have been very competitive. It’s a great group of kids that work hard and know the game,”
Now with a more experienced roster, Thibodeau is ready to push his players harder and fill in some of the gaps from last year’s club.
“This junior class had a ton of minutes last year, and with our two sophomores, it was the same thing. I have a lot of kids that are ready to take another giant leap. Us as a program, it has been about kids that love basketball,” said Thibodeau. “In the past in this city, it has been more recreational than developmental, but now it is and these kids have really developed their IQ’s and are at the high school level. These kids are ready. The freshmen too, they will play and have already been hardened by AAU and travel. They’re very talented.”
Although the team still has some hurdles to overcome, Thibodeau feels that a title is a realistic expectation if they play their cards right.
“We’re capable of (winning it all),” said Thibodeau. “If these kids want to buy in on defense and accept what’s in front of them, then we should be able to compete with anyone. This is a talented group that is ready for that next level.”