By BRIAN CUNNIFF
The long high school basketball season can be a grind, even for teams enjoying considerable success.
So you can imagine how it’s been for the girls team at Lower Cape May Regional.
Entering this week, the Lady Tigers had won just one of the first 23 games. A transfer, a decision by another top player to participate in another sport, injuries and other defections left the team rather shorthanded. The program folded its junior varsity program due to low numbers.
But Tuesday, Lower Cape May finally got to taste victory. The team beat St. Joseph, 59-33, to snap a 14-game losing streak.
“It was nice for us,” said sophomore guard Lindsay Holden, who scored a game-high 25 points in the win. “It’s been a tough season for the whole team. So getting a win, especially at home, it’s a good feeling.”
Lower coach Mike Pittman has been impressed with the nine players who remained with the team the entire season.
“It’s a long season to begin with, so for the nine who’ve stuck with it I think it tells a lot about their characteristics as a person,” he said. “They’ve come to practice, they’ve continued to work hard.”
One player who epitomized that strong commitment is senior Gabby Gray. She broke a bone in her thumb and missed eight games but returned for the final couple weeks of the season. She scored 12 points in Tuesday’s win.
“I was very happy to see her come back,” Pittman said. “She very easily could have packed it in after getting hurt as a senior. We only had four games left, but she wanted to be part of the team and finish out her senior year and play these last couple games. You really have to give her a pat on the back to do that, knowing how our season was going.”
For Gray, it was a simple decision.
“This was not the season we expected at all,” Gray said. “The team’s been struggling and I just wanted to get out there as a senior and help. I know I’m never going to play basketball again after this year so I wanted to be back out there.”
Other key contributors to the team this season have been Sara Donahue, Alyssa Wagner, Molly McGuigan and Emma Muldoon. Senior Helena Roesing was a key figure early in the season but was lost to a foot injury.
Pittman said he is proud of how his players have performed to the finish. The team also has a chance to end the season with a two-game winning streak. It plays at Pleasantville on Friday.
“We lost a game to Mainland last week by 25 but we played differently than in a lot of the other games. We showed a little more grit and fight in us,” he said. “It was great to see us play better. The idea was to try to carry that into the last two games. To finally get a ‘W,’ I feel good for the girls. Now we’ll try to carry that into Friday and try to get another win and carry that into the offseason.”