DEVENS – The Parker Charter Essential School’s girls’ basketball team is a little on the green side, but despite being mostly underclassmen the Panthers are showing a lot of the necessary traits that successful teams need. With the season starting Friday, Parker Charter won’t have to wait long to gain valuable experience as the program continues to build.
In a small school, getting the numbers for multiple levels of basketball can be tough, but Parker Charter has 14 strong for a varsity team this year. The last couple of years featured big senior classes, but with only one senior this season, the Panthers are going to be working on developing their young talent.
“With a young team you have to have lots of practice and scrimmages, lots of fundamentals,” Parker Charter girls’ basketball head coach Caroline Rodi said. “Figuring out how the game works, how to battle, how to play together, grow ourselves and read the game.”
Despite being a little green in class rank, the younger Panthers are showing up with the right attitude, something that coupled with experience gained as the season goes by, should bode well for the later stages of the year and certainly into the future.
“Every single person when they show up, they show up and give me everything they have for that day,” Rodi said. “Which is all that I can ask. We’re only getting better and better by the minute. It takes time, but they’re patient with each other, and supportive of each other.”
Guard Rose Marble is the lone senior on the team, and will be serving as the team’s captain. Marble is the scrappiest player on the team, fearless when pursuing loose balls and quick to get back down the floor on defense in transition.
“Marble is the first one on the ground,” Rodi said. “She sets a good example of the work ethic and determination that I want to see out of the other players.”
Junior guard Charlotte Churchill is also serving as one of the team’s captains, and has that similar intense work ethic. Churchill went above and beyond doing a lot of individual work during the summer. She may see some time at the power forward position this year as well.
“(Churchill) loves to be putting in the extra work,” Rodi said. “That is my theme for this year. I want people who want to be there, and want to play, and reward that, because that’s probably the most important thing that they can learn from basketball.”
Forward Shea Sanderson factors to play an important part in the starting lineup, and Rodi says she offers a number of important ideas to the team.
“She brings a lot of fun energy, and is tall, and gets the game,” Rodi said.
Jocelyn Testa will play the center position, and has a good presence in the paint, Rodi says, drawing a lot of contact, and getting to the foul line consistently.
Meryl Scholfield registers at 6 foot 1 inch tall and will present some matchup challenges for Parker’s opponents as she’ll rotate around the forward spots. Scholfield, who is a dedicated student, is shifting more time into her basketball craft this season, Rodi says.
Miri Duckworth is new to the program but brings a lot of energy. Marz Rawlinson is a long time player that is peaking at the right time. Two coachable freshman newcomers are Fiona Connelly and Gracie Condon and are making their mark, while sophomore Dashley Cajuste has some quick hands and likes intercepting opposing teams’ passes for a swift steal.
Lola Eaton, Kaitlyn Jones, Marley Delfeld, and Taylor Holzer are also expected to make quality contributions to this year's team.
The schedule is front loaded with a lot of non-league games prior to Christmas break, including a frequent early stretch, which will throw the young Panthers into the fire, but should provide a valuable learning experience early.