Paint Branch Girls Basketball in Scintillating Form
It was a tough start to the season for the Paint Branch girls basketball team, dropping three of its first four games. The Panthers managed to keep the games close, losing the three games by a combined 11 points, but still were struggling to close contests out.
To head coach Rochelle Coleman, the team's difficult start can be explained by the lack of experience of the players on her team. The team had two returning starters from last year's bunch which finished 18-6, but many players have been shifted into different roles from what they did for Paint Branch previously.
"We were a very inexperienced team both individually and collectively at the start of the season," Coleman said. "After starting 1-3 we had to take stock of how we were playing and what we needed to do to improve. The players have made an effort to get better every practice and to translate that to the court."
The players' concerted effort has been paying dividends.
The Panthers have been among the best performing teams in the state since Dec. 19, when the group topped Wootton 74-59 to become 2-3. Paint Branch has won 11 of its past 12 games to become 12-4. The team's lone loss during this run came against Gaithersburg on Jan. 3, and the Panthers have won seven games in a row since then.
Over the past seven games, Paint Branch has beaten its opponents by a combined score of 483-319.
"As for our inexperience, playing in games has taken care of that," Coleman said. "We just hope to continue to improve and play good basketball as we head into the back end of the season."
In order for the Panthers to continue to improve, they'll need to continue to get superb performances from a trio of guards. The group is comprised of junior Alayna McFadden, sophomore Katerra Myers and freshman Patricia Anumga.
In McFadden and Myers, Paint Branch has two returning starters that are proven scorers. McFadden leads the team with 15.5 points per game, while Myers is averaging 12.3. Anumga has also made an impact in her first year of varsity basketball, averaging 9.6 points per game.
Along with scoring points, the trio has done an excellent job of imposing Paint Branch's aggressive style on opponents during this excellent stretch of games.
"We like to put pressure on teams on the defensive end and like to push the ball on offense," Coleman said. "We want to make sure we are applying pressure on both ends of the floor when we play."
The hope is that style will pay off as it has in the past for Paint Branch. Before last season, the Panthers had reached states in back to back seasons- Coleman hopes this year's bunch can get Paint Branch back there.
"Our on paper goals at Paint Branch are the same every year- win our division, win our region, and win the state," Coleman said.
|January 27th, 2017||By: Wick Eisenberg|