With older siblings Erin and Corey at college, Pentucket star Kelsi McNamara is an only child at home now with just her parents, John and Tricia, who eat, sleep and live basketball. Their television is tuned to a basketball game most nights.
“I will be relaxing and watching TV and my parents are trying to teach me as I’m sitting on the couch, ‘Oh, you should get that move down,’” Kelsi said, laughing.
Sure, all the basketball conversations can feel a bit much at times, but Kelsi wouldn’t have it any other way.
The star Sachem has so much respect for what her father has done since becoming Pentucket’s head coach (John has a 174-25 record in eight years) and she wants to follow in her parents’ footsteps by coaching the sport someday. Tricia helped John coach all three children in youth basketball.
“What I’m thinking of doing is being an (elementary school) teacher and I know a lot of teachers have been coaches and I think that will work out really well,” Kelsi said. “I could continue helping other people. Obviously, I’ve learned so much from my dad on how to be a good coach. I think that allows for a good background.”
On a team without any seniors and a large group of underclassmen, Kelsi, a junior, already has taken on a coaching role.
“When we’re at practice, I feel completely comfortable being like, ‘Oh, I think we should do this instead of that,’” Kelsi said. “I give a lot of input into what I think. I don’t know if I would feel as comfortable doing that if it wasn’t my dad as the coach.”
Kelsi averages over 15 points per game.
She earned All-CAL honors last winter when she averaged 10.5 points, 3.0 assists and 3.5 steals with 33 3-pointers.
The Sachems are young. Kelsi is one of just two returning starters. But between her scoring ability and her dad’s tremendous coaching, don’t rule out this program. Pentucket again will compete for a Division 3 state championship.
The Sachems take pride on defense and making adjustments. Entering this year, John’s teams only averaged 2.9 losses per season.
The Sachems have four losses already this winter, but after starting the season 1-3, Pentucket has gone 15-2. And after losing to Notre Dame of Hingham and Hamilton-Wenham in December, the Sachems beat both those schools the second time they faced each of them.
Masconomet is the only team that has beaten Pentucket twice.
But the second meeting was much closer. After losing 66-40 to Masco on Dec. 27, the Sachems lost a 39-38 thriller to the Chieftains last week.
“A lot of times my dad will watch the games on film and find all the mistakes we made,” Kelsi said.
“He’ll go through them with me and tell me what I need to do differently. If the team is denying me, he tells me how to get open or what I did wrong the first game. He gives me a lot of advice. Sometimes it’s really critical and I don’t take it too well. But I know it’s just him helping me because I need to play better.”
Like both her brother and sister, Kelsi excels at shooting from the outside.
“My AAU coach (Kevin Barboza) is really good with the technical (part of shooting),” she said. “Me and my sister go to him a lot in the summer and the offseason. He’ll tell us what our hands are doing wrong. My dad sees it a lot, too. During the season he’ll tell me I’m pushing the ball too much and to get it up higher or that I’m not using enough legs.”
Kelsi hopes to play at a Division 2 college and she’s interested in Merrimack.
She worked on her step-back this past offseason and she wants to improve at shooting 3-pointers from the corners.
“And I want to work on my drives and taking the ball to the basket harder,” she said.
“Obviously I’m not the strongest person and sometimes the tall and big people are too overpowering for me. So my dad has worked on giving me a bunch of different moves to work on. I think during the offseason I am going to try to get better at that.”