First-year coach pleased with strides taken by young squad
WASHBURN, Maine — Crystal Hobbs takes over as head coach for Ron Ericson and inherits a Washburn girls basketball squad that has four sophomores and a freshman in the mix for starting roles.
Last season, the Beavers went 3-13 with an eight-player roster that collectively was among the youngest in the state. A sophomore, five freshmen and two eighth-graders were thrown into a difficult situation following the graduation of five seniors the previous year.
“These girls had to learn quickly how to fill roles and step up in a way they hadn’t been asked before,” said Hobbs, who served as Ericson’s assistant the past two seasons. “We spent much of the season working on skills and focusing on each improvement that was made along the way.”
Six of those players have returned and Hobbs said there was a positive vibe surrounding this year’s squad during the preseason.
“The veteran girls are focused and ready to work and have set a good example for the new players,” Hobbs said. “They are determined to have a better record than last year and are willing to put in the work to do so.”
The Beavers will count heavily on the guard combination of junior Chelsea Hobbs and sophomore Madelyn Johnston, who are both back in the starting lineup. Hobbs is a fourth-year player, while Johnston, the team’s top scorer in 2021-22, is beginning her third season.
“Both ladies grew into their positions last year and have already begun to show more growth [after our first week of practice],” coach Hobbs said.
Sophomores Isabelle Allen and Hannah Scott will start at forward, while classmate Logan Curtis and senior Jasmine West are both vying to start at center. West played two years ago but took last year off.
Freshman guard Jaci Rosi-Carney also has a chance to be a starter but if not, will provide a spark off the bench due to her quickness and fierce determination.
The eight other players are in their first season. Senior Gabby Anderson and freshman Saharah Lary have a chance to contribute immediately in the frontcourt, while the others on the roster are senior Heidi Echeverria, sophomores Alexy Lynch, Madisyn Coy and Cheyenne Farley; and freshman Madison Plummer.
“We’re still a young team, but have a lot of potential,” coach Hobbs said. “We have speed and will have some depth on the bench.”
The coach said aggressiveness and shooting are two primary areas of the game which will need improvement as the season moves along.
“I want to see the girls drive the ball more and not be afraid of contact,” she added. “To be an effective team, we need more than one or two contributing to the scoring. They each need to take their shots when the opportunity is given.”
Senior Lucy Tate is the team’s manager.