Good Look Down Low

All-Star forward Lily Craft is a big reason that the Falmouth High School girls’ basketball team should once again contend for the league title this winter.

They’ve been waiting to get this thing going for some time and finally, in Sandwich on Friday, January 15, the Falmouth High School girls’ basketball team will take the court for the first time in 2021. The Clippers are excited to get on the court and get to work because this year’s team, with a different look than the past few seasons, mixes some great experience with promising newcomers.

After going 18-5 and graduating one of the most-prolific scorers in school history in Kayla Thomas, it might be expected that the Clippers would take a step back. That’s not likely to happen, though. FHS should once again challenge for the Cape and Islands League championship—with Nauset probably the favorite heading into the season—and has a great mix that will be fun to watch on the court.

Leading the way is senior Ari Silvia. The combo guard is the motor that drives the Clippers’ suffocating full-court defense. Coach Bob Buscher calls his four-year varsity standout—who is coming off an all-star campaign—The Spider because she is long, quick and puts offensive players in a web that typically creates turnovers and leads to easy baskets in transition for herself and her teammates. Silvia, an excellent point guard, will be counted on to score a bit more this year and also set up her teammates.

Allowing Silvia to get more time as a shooting guard this year will be the emerging Rachelle Andrade. The junior, who will be in the main rotation, can take over the point responsibilities to allow Silvia to make things happen away from the ball. Andrade is a good perimeter shooter who, after getting her feet wet as a sophomore, should have a bigger and more-important role this year.

Senior Caroline Koss will start at the shooting guard spot for FHS. The veteran player gives coach Buscher a very athletic player in the backcourt who can use her quickness to create some havoc defensively. Koss can knock down jump shots for the club and will be a bigger part of the attack as a senior.

What makes this year’s edition of the club so different than last year’s squad is the ability to beat other teams with size. The Clippers’ frontcourt is bigger than it has been in years, and should flummox foes. So many teams in basketball these days love to sit in a zone and force shooters farther from the basket, but in doing so they give up tons of space inside. This year’s FHS team can make those clubs pay for playing that way and if they pack it in, that will allow the team’s shooters more space to operate.

Up front, at forward, all-star Lily Craft leads the way. The senior has seen her game grow at an impressive rate over the past few years, and this season she should be one of the leading scorers and a force to be reckoned with. “She has put in a tremendous amount of time on her footwork and defensive positioning,” Buscher said. “She can post up, hit the three. She’s a weapon.”

Speaking of weapons, the league is about to be introduced to the freshman combo of Teagan Lind and Tish Blackwood. They’re probably not going to enjoy the next four years of dealing with them very much.

Lind is a long, quick forward who has developed her game quite a bit. She is likely to play the small forward spot next to Craft in the starting lineup and can do some very nice things. Buscher said Lind is capable with both hands, can step back and knock down shots and is very athletic. “She’s ready to go and excited to be playing,” the coach said.

Blackwood is a physical force who can be a problem for other teams. “She gives us something that we haven’t had in a few years,” Buscher said. “She can bring the ball up, has a great post-up game, she’ll shoot the mid-range and has the green light to do it.”

Every team needs a quality heat check shooter coming off the bench, and for Falmouth that will be Anna Fernandez. The junior is a slashing guard with a good jump shot. When it is falling she will take it regularly, and can put in points in a hurry.

Adding to the mix up front is another strong, young player who is a building block for the coming years, sophomore Elizabeth Janes. A varsity player last year, Janes is coming along nicely and is trending upward. She can knock down shots from the outside, run the floor well and has potential to be a nice player for the club in the coming years.

Senior Delia Martino gives the team depth in the backcourt. A quality shooter, Martino plays the game with a high IQ and brings great energy to the mix.

Emma Meehan is the reserve in the frontcourt. A post player with some punch, Meehan played JV last year and is a threat down low. She can rebound well, sets good screens and can roll to the basket, and plays with confidence.

The Clippers as a whole should play with plenty of confidence as they battle for the Cape and Islands League crown. The team hits the court against SHS on the road on Friday, January 15, then will visit Barnstable on Monday afternoon for a 1 PM game on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The Clippers’ first home game is slated for Tuesday against visiting Dennis-Yarmouth.

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