The girls basketball team started its season off rocky when the Lady Bulldogs dropped their home opener to Damascus Dec. 6, crushed Sherwood in their first away game Dec. 9 and then let another game slip to Gaithersburg Dec. 12. Despite the inconsistency so far, several players have established themselves through solid performances, and the team continues to have high hopes for the rest of the season.
In the game against Gaithersburg, the Bulldogs hung tight with the defending state champs. Senior center Sarafina Arthur-Williams led the team with a double-double, as she had 20 points and 20 rebounds. The Bulldogs finished the first half with a tentative 21-20 lead. However, the Trojans fought back in the second half, and beat the Bulldogs 42-38 after a hard-fought game.
The team had just come off of a crushing defeat to Sherwood, in which the Lady Bulldogs steamrolled the Warriors, beating them 78-45. As a whole the team had a solid performance, and several players had double digit points. Arthur-Williams led the team with 19 points, followed by junior guard Shira Racoosin with 18 points and senior shooting guard Jill Beauregard with 17 points.
“Everyone contributed and did well,” senior point guard Kim Deausen said. “It was a great team effort.”
The Lady Bulldogs opened their season with a disappointing 55-50 loss to Damascus. However, many players had strong games. Beauregard and freshman guard Japria Karim-Duvall had a standout game as they led the Bulldogs with 15 points each. Nine of Beauregard’s points came from behind the arc. Racoosin led the Bulldog’s defensive corps and contributed eight points as well. Despite the loss, head coach Katelyn McMahon is still positive about the squad.
“We are pretty good inside with [Arthur-Williams] which will open up our shooters,” said McMahon, who is in her third year as the varsity head coach.
After the loss of just three players to graduation, the team returns a solid group of upperclassmen and welcomes some new talent. Arthur-Williams, who signed her letter of intent to play Division I basketball at the University of North Carolina, Greensborough in November, leads a team with a mix of both veterans and young talent, specifically the arrival of three new freshman to the varsity squad. In addition to Karim-Duvall, freshman point guard Izzy Wu and freshman forward Hannah Yasharoff will make their varsity debut this season while sophomore Bryn Edens joins the team after a standout season with the junior varsity squad.
“We have a good amount of new players so we are trying to work through our offense and defense to get everyone on the same page,” McMahon said.
Along with Arthur-Williams, who has been the first player to be named a captain, the team will find its leadership in Beauregard and Deausen. Beauregard returns after two stand-out seasons as a starter for the Lady Bulldogs. Deausen, who joined the team after transferring after her sophomore year, will be stepping in for star point guard Leeda Jewayni. The loss of Jewayni, as well as 2011 alumnus Giulia Giannangeli, leaves a big void.
Despite the less than outstanding performance so far, Arthur-Williams is staying positive, and looks forward to the remainder of the season.
“We’ve been running a lot at practice and working on defense so that we can be one of the best defensive teams in the county,” Arthur-Williams said.
The Bulldogs faced off against traditional powerhouse Northwest Dec. 19.