Lyman girls putting together a solid season

By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Lebanon - posted Mon., Jan. 28, 2013
Kyia Barnett warms up before a Dec. 11 game against Windham. File photos by Melanie Savage.
Kyia Barnett warms up before a Dec. 11 game against Windham. File photos by Melanie Savage.

After a Jan. 25 win against Griswold, the Lyman Memorial High School girls' basketball team had racked up a 9-5 record with just six games to go in the regular season. Currently, the Bulldogs claim several players among the top 20 for a number of stats, including Elizabeth Peay within the top 10 for blocks, and Alyssa Tacchi within the top 10 for assists.

Three players currently average in double digits for scoring: Chelsey Hussey (11.9), Briana Padewski (11.1) and Casey Kelley (10.9). "And the other three players in the rotation can score, too," said head coach Jeff Gaucher, referring to Peay, Tacchi and Maggie Tarbox. "It gives us a lot of flexibility in our offense and on any given night any one - or more - of them can heat up," said Gaucher. "What is really special about this team is that everybody contributes to all facets of the game, and there is truly a collective responsibility in terms of meeting our team goals."

The five losses the team attributes to a number of different factors. Gaucher agreed with team captain Hussey's assessment that the players sometimes get ahead of themselves. "Yes, at times we still rush and lose our proper operating tempo, but we are getting better and better at regaining it if we lose it during a game," said Gaucher. Before a December game against Windham, Hussey called attention to last year's record, which brought the team past the first round of the state tournament, a first-ever achievement for the program. She made it clear that this year's team would be striving to surpass that record.

"This year's team certainly has the ability, talent and desire to go deeper in the state tournament than we ever have before," said Gaucher. "The key is going to be having everybody healthy - this has been an issue lately - seizing the momentum in tournament games early by setting the tempo and working our offensive sets. I think we can compete with anybody, and when we're in sync it's really pretty basketball." The team has been extremely consistent in their effort, said Gaucher, "and the chemistry is solid regardless of the player combinations on the floor."

Gaucher said that focus and discipline have improved since the team experienced a two-game losing streak against New London and St. Bernard's earlier this month. "Coming out of those games we were banged up and missing some players to injury and illness," he said.  "The girls got together and created a poster with some team goals to accomplish in each game. Now we have a report card for each game to grade out how we measured up to those goals. We are all accountable for our success or failure and that kind of mindset has paid dividends here as we head to the home stretch."

But, cautioned Gaucher, the team couldn't afford to let up on the effort and focus. "We have a brutal stretch coming up with rematches against Plainfield and St. Bernard's and a very tough Stonington team, who's playing great basketball right now, plunked right down in between them," said Gaucher. But the coach is confident his players will give each of these games their best. "I have very good, strong, smart ball players, and they are even better people," said Gaucher. "I am extremely proud of them and how they represent our school and our town."

Senior Chelsey Hussey shares the tri-captain spot with senior Casey Kelley and junior Alyssa Tacchi. Hussey and Kelley are the only two seniors on this year's team.

Let us know what you think!
Please be as specific as possible.
Include your name and email if you would like a response back.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the code without spaces and pay attention to upper/lower case.