Whitman Girls Basketball Aiming for March Trip to Towson University
Whitman girls basketball thought last year was its year to win a state championship. The Vikings finished the regular season undefeated then breezed through three games in regional play, winning each one by double digits, to become the 4A West champions. The dream season ended in the state semifinals though, as Whitman lost 48-30 to the eventual state champions, 48-30. Whitman's final record was 23-1.
This year's team is driven by that one loss. Head coach Peter Kenah says that most of the players on the team have the gym at Towson University, where the state finals are played, as the background on their phones.
"We want to get better every day and be back at Towson playing on March 12th," Kenah said.
The team appears to be ready to meet Kenah's high expectations. An older squad made up only of seniors and juniors, Whitman is 12-3 this year after playing a brutal schedule in December. The Vikings faced two teams in the Top 25 in the country (Neumann Gorretti and St. John's) as well as the defending champion from Washington DC, Georgetown Visitation.
Despite losing all three of those games, Kenah says playing that tough competition has only benefited the Vikings. In 11 games against Montgomery County opponents, Whitman has not allowed 40 points.
"We learned to win big games like that we have to play 32 minutes," Kenah said. "Our team has adopted that as our motto for the season."
The team is led by a quartet of Division I caliber players in Marie Hatch, Hannah Niles, Betsy Knox and Abby Meyers. Hatch will be playing at Cornell next year, while Niles has committed to play at Loyola. Knox was offered a scholarship by UMBC but decided to attend Middlebury. Meyers has offers from a plethora of top 25 schools.
"I'm the luckiest coach in the world to have four division I players for a public school," Kenah said.
Looking ahead, Kenah is hoping his team can pick up a couple big, marquee victories before the playoffs. The team still has some eye-catching games on its schedule, with the regular season finale against Paint Branch, a 4A state finalist last year, being the one that stands out the most.
Another big game for the Vikings takes place today against Bethesda-Chevy Chase, which is having an exceptional season. The Vikings have already beaten B-CC, but the rematch will be a big challenge because it is a road contest for Whitman. It's also the first game of a doubleheader, with the boys varsity game following it, which is sold out.
It all adds up to being an exciting test for Whitman.
"B-CC is excellent in transition and has lots of offensive weapons. We must be able to guard the ball and limit their penetration," Kenah said. "We're expecting a great crowd."
|February 3rd, 2016||By: Wick Eisenberg|