There are certainly a lot of new names to learn at Falmouth Academy with the girls’ basketball program this year. Gone from the Mariners’ 19-win team of a year ago are the best player on Cape Cod, Kendall Currence; one of the toughest players in the region, Jane Earley; and their head coach, Gus Adams.
Adams’s replacement was not in place until just before Thanksgiving, so as the Mariners prepare for their opener on Monday, December 10, they’re still learning as they fly. First-year head coach Kyla Krueger, a former assistant at Sandwich High School, said that she’s good at learning names and committing them to memory, which is helpful when everyone on the court is a new face to you.
Krueger’s first head coaching gig at the varsity level isn’t the easiest one, but she’s certainly upbeat about the prospect of spearheading a rebuilding process that looks to replace the bulk of their scoring and leadership.
“I’m stepping in fresh, and I see it as a good thing,” she said. “Everyone is aware [of what FA lost]. I’m new, but that’s good. I don’t know what the plays were, and how [Adams] ran the team, but that means there are not preconceived notions or expectations. It’s a fresh set of coaching eyes, and I don’t think that’s ever a bad thing. It’s a new challenge for the kids.”
There was speculation that the Mariners’ top returning player, junior Devin Hill, might choose to transfer out of the school before the year began. Hill decided she was happy with the fit in Falmouth and the Martha’s Vineyarder remained at FA, where she will be counted upon to lead the charge for the new-look Mariners.
“We’re going to use her in every role possible,” coach Krueger said. “She has the freedom to take the reins and she will be instrumental in everything that we do.”
Hill, a forward, will be needed not only to score and rebound, but to be a key defender as well. She may also bring the ball up the court at times.
Senior Maddy Francis will have a new role this year as well. In the past Francis played up front as a forward for FA, but Krueger believes she will be better served out on the wing and handling the ball for this year’s team.
The other senior on the roster is forward Becky Butler. A long and tall post player, Butler will be needed to grab rebounds and provide interior scoring.
Getting scoring from many sources is something that Krueger stressed will be a necessity. “They all need to get points, they all need to get rebounds. We don’t have just one person that we can rely on, so it has be a collaborative effort.”
The junior class has Victoria Searle coming in to help out as a guard. Her quickness will be a boon. Bailey Jordan is expected to see time as a forward, and Ainsley Ramsey will be a ball-handler and wing player for the Mariners.
Sophomore guard Sonja Rajagopal is up from the junior varsity squad. “She has grown as a player, big-time,” her coach said. Another sophomore who will be in the lineup is Anna Hoehlein, a strong jumper with post player skills.
Three freshmen will serve as swing players, with time on varsity and JV. They are Piper Augat, Kyra Ramsey and Kailei Hoehlein.
“I see this as a fresh start for everybody,” Krueger said. “Everyone is going to be in a different role and hopefully we can all grow together.”
The Mariners begin their season on Tuesday, December 11. The squad will host St. John Paul II High School with a 4 PM tip-off at FA. They hit the road for the first time on December 13, with a trip to Monomoy slated for 6:30 PM.