Improved Green Wave girls have it together
The current crop of Green Wave players was early in its elementary-school years the last time New Milford High girls' basketball was a winning program.
It's much longer still since a NMHS distaff hardcourt scene harbored realistic dreams of a title.
That day might still be a year or two away, but coach Bill Kersten's 2012-13 Green Wave is at least rekindling memories of glory days gone by.
The NMHS girls headed Tuesday to Danbury to face Immaculate with a lofty 6-2 record in the South-West Conference.
"That's a big game," admitted coach Kersten early this week, as he reflected on his team's progress to date and aspirations for the season's homestretch.
"We know we will still have many of the better teams in our league to play," cautioned coach Kersten, "so we need to stay focused and try to play our best basketball down the stretch."
After a 1-4 start, the Green Wave have improved to 7-6.
Since a lethargic performance Jan. 10 during a 32-21 loss at Brookfield, the NMHS girls have rolled off four straight wins, with three of those coming on the road -- 54-49 at New Fairfield; 40-38 at Weston; 52-20 vs. Stratford; and 54-43 at Bunnell in Stratford.
"We are playing better as of late, and we know we can be play even better," said coach Kersten, who bemoaned a couple of tough early-season losses.
"We absolutely have left some victories out there," he opined. "Our first two losses of the season in particular come to mind, and I chalk that up to a new lineup, three new starters, and a team and program that was and still is learning the art of winning."
Senior point guard Julianna Fusco has been "playing great," said her coach, highlighted by a game-winning three-pointer with five seconds to play in Weston.
"She's getting the ball to where it needs to be when it needs to be there, while scoring a high of 18 vs. Bunnell," added coach Kersten.
He also credited the defense of Lexi Kersten and Corinne Heymach and the rebounding and clutch shooting of Lauren MacDonald.
"We have had very good team chemistry this year," said coach Kersten. "Everyone seems to have figured out her role and has a team-first mentality."
"Secondly, as (coach Kersten's former Shepaug Valley High) coach (Fran) Gollow used to say, you need the horses to pull the wagon."
"We have them this year," said the NMHS coach. "They understand our system and, much more importantly, they have started to execute that system."
The Green Wave will host Joel Barlow Friday, Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. and welcome Kolbe Cathedral to town Tuesday in a pair of contests against traditional SWC powers. As NMHS plays its final seven regular-season games, thoughts of qualification for the CIAC's Class LL tournament and the SWC playoffs could well be on the girls' collective mind.
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