Girls play in last freshman sports season
What may have been the final season for the North Kingstown High School freshman winter sports teams has come to a close.
This season the girls' freshman basketball team had 11 on the roster, including five from Jamestown.
"They were an awesome group of kids. I loved coming into work and coaching them every day. They were just fun to coach and they worked hard from the start to the finish of the season," head coach Lynn Downey said.
After losing their first four games, Downey said that by the playoffs the team really put everything together that they had worked on all season. "We won a few very important games at the end of the season to get us in the playoffs. There was a huge difference between the first game and the last. There was a 110-percent turnaround in the way they played," Downey said.
Islander and freshman Emily Levy said, "The team started off rocky with four straight losses, but after Christmas break we all stepped it up and made it into the playoffs." North lost in the semifi nals to North Providence, 37-27. The girls ended their season with a record of 4-7, which included a 4-4 league record, and tied for second in the league.
Downey had great things to say about all the players. "Sarah Smith was the starting center and worked hard and had a great work ethic. She was a great teammate. Nicole Perez was a point guard and an 'on the floor leader'. She always wanted to improve her game. They all had great team work and team spirit," the coach said.
Levy said, "Nicole (Perez) and Sarah (Smith) had played together in Jamestown. They have chemistry from playing together for so long, but Sam (Leonard) and I were new to the sport and had no prior experience. We both grew so much as players. We started with very little playing time, but as we got better we got more time on the court." Levy also played center, and islander Allie Richard and Leonard played forward.
Downey has been coaching at North Kingstown for 20 years and this was her 13th season as the freshman basketball coach. "Mrs. Downey was amazing. She took her time with us and saw our potential. She was always coming up with creative ways to bring the team together. To her, coming together as a team was the number one priority," Levy said.
At this time, the high school freshman sports teams have been eliminated due to budget cuts. "I believe that freshmen sports, as well as JV, are the foundation for varsity. Our school has won numerous state championships as well as other prestigious awards, and if freshman sports were to be cut, then it is very possible that our school would not be as successful at the varsity level," Levy said.