The student news site of Francis W. Parker School

The Parker Weekly

The student news site of Francis W. Parker School

The Parker Weekly

The student news site of Francis W. Parker School

The Parker Weekly

Basketball Begins

The Upper School girls and boys teams practice and compete
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  • Varsity boys starting five ready for the first homegame.

    Photo credit: JP Lazar
  • The girls team lines up for the National Anthem at Ridgewood Community High School.

    Photo credit: Anna Swanson
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Fall is giving way to winter, temperatures are cooling down, and basketball season is in full swing. 

On Monday, October 30, Parker’s Upper School varsity girls basketball team began practices for their season and they played their first game of the season against Ridgewood on November 15. The team is led by first-year head coach and Parker PE teacher Madeleine Maldonado, who was previously the junior varsity coach. 

“Being the head varsity basketball coach isn’t pressuring, but there is a sense of wanting to turn this program around,” said Maldonado. The girls have been faced with extremely difficult competition, kicking off their games in the fall against proportionally larger college-level schools. 

Maldonado and the coaching staff have created and prepared tactics to advance the skills of the girls in practice to prepare for harder challenges in the upcoming season. “You have to deal with the failures that you’re dealing with so that in a game, we can be there for each other and close those gaps on those really tough games,” said Maldonado. “The past few practices we’ve been playing against our girls,” added Maldonado. “That has been proving to be really effective because we’re playing at a very high level, and they’re seeing that impact.” 

Senior Anna Swanson is serving as team captain in her last year on the team. “I absolutely love the coaching staff year,” said Swanson. “They are really amazing at holding people accountable while still maintaining a fun and uplifting space. They want people to actually be learning through experience and starting to build confidence in their skills. We work really well together and it’s been such a fun time so far. The girls have been ready in full session, having begun their preseason fall league games in late September again.”

Swanson called the preseason games “difficult.” “We were playing against teams that had been playing together since the second grade and massive public schools that are known for their amazing sports teams,” she said. 

Swanson is playing alongside co-captain Senior Quinn Kass. “Quinn is a great co-captain. She is super dedicated to the sport and we’ve been teammates for 4 years, so seeing how far she’s come as a player and a leader has been super cool. We work really well together, and it’s been such a fun time so far.” 

The Upper School boys basketball team began their preseason a week later than the girls, on Monday, November 8th. The varsity team is led by captains Calan Scherer, Miles Johnson, and Sam Forst and is coached by Jarrick McGee. The team is assisted by Sam Mintz, Lukas Moore, Omni Smith, and Noah Wolf. 

McGee, going onto his 12th year as varsity head coach, aims for the team to expand on their campaign from last year. “I think it starts in practice; at the end of the day we have to push each other individually and as a team,” Mcgee said. “We have to work hard and practice working hard, and practice translates to games. What we’re looking for is all the hard work that we do during practice and games hopefully can accumulate to once the playoff times start, we will have a good team.” 

McGee’s goal is to bring a regional title home this year as the boys narrowly lost by one point to Wells Chicago last February in the regional finals. “I’m hoping this time around, if we have the whole team around during the playoffs, we can give ourselves a better chance to actually win a regional title,” said McGee. “What we need to do is take it one day at a time.” 

Captain Sam Forst believes the team can go far this year in accordance with the team’s behavior and performance in practice. “We’re not gonna win anything if we start thinking ahead too much,” he said. “We can only control what we can control. I don’t have a crystal ball, so we just focus on being great right now and the wins will follow.” The boys played their first game on Monday, November 20, at Notre Dame College prep. 

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About the Contributor
Mikhail Satchu, Sports Editor
Mikhail is serving his third year in "The Weekly" as Sports Editor. He previously served as a Staff Writer and Brief Sports Writer. Outside of school, he likes to watch and play sports.