NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Sports

December 11, 2012

The celebration ends now

Pentucket girls basketball team back to work to defend title

(Continued)

Last year’s team wasn’t without its growing pains either. The team came out to a not-so-hot 3-3 start, before finishing off the season with an incredible 20-1 stretch that saw the Sachems win their last 10 all by an average 22.4 points per game.

The fiery coached learned an important lesson in staying even-keeled, trusting the process and allowing the team to develop slowly but surely.

“We’re starting slow right now, so it’s hard for me to jump up and down and say we’re looking great, but last year at this time I was probably thinking the same thing because we were struggling,” McNamara said. “We’re looking at this as kind of like last year. You don’t have to be good at the beginning, you don’t have to play your best at the beginning, you just want to be playing your best at the end. I think we all learned it’s OK to take your time and do the right things, then cram and come out of the gates thinking you’re all set.

“We can use (the start of the season) as a measuring stick and as a learning device from last year,” the seventh-year Pentucket coach said. “If we have a loss, we will talk about last year, what we did, here’s how we dealt with it, here’s the end result, and I think that’s how we’ll look at it.”

If the going does get tough, McNamara does also have his three established senior captains who have been in so many big games to carry the team and its young players.

“I think they’re definitely focused, but I think it’s my job to make sure they don’t think it’s just going to happen again,” McNamara said. “I’ve got to try to get that same drive from them. I think I’ve mentioned it to them individually that winning one state championship is pretty special, but if you win two that would put you in a pretty elite class. Not many kids have won two.

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