WEST ISHPEMING — With the holiday break upon us, many local high school basketball teams are hitting the gyms, working on their game to prepare for the grueling stretch to the playoffs.
One of those teams is the underrated Westwood girls squad.
The Lady Patriots are 2–3 on the season but two of those losses came in very close games versus Kingsford and Ishpeming. Coach Kurt Corcoran talked about what he likes about the team so far this season.
“I’ve been talking with our radio guy and the newspapers a lot about how we need to find our identity and I think we’re on our way. We’re a real feisty crew. We’re real small but we rebound really well. So as long as these girls give me 100% effort every night, we’re at least going to be in ball games,” Corcoran said.
The game versus the Hematites may have been the most impressive as Westwood was down 16 at halftime and battled back, eventually losing by only six points.
“It was really important for us to get through that because then we realized that we’re able to do that as a team. We’re able to cut down big holes like that and come back and work as hard as we can,” said Patriots forward/guard Hannah Salmi.
“At halftime, we were telling ourselves that it’s not over until it’s over and we were really focusing on our roles, which we all played really solid defense in that second half. We started off really strong and that allowed them to get frustrated and we came back with our offense,” Patriots guard Elizabeth Farley said.
“We held Ishpeming to 10 points in the second half and the girls didn’t give up. They kept battling. It was fantastic. As a coach, that’s exactly what you want to see so that the next time we play these teams…the Ishpemings, the Negaunees…I think that’s a little ego boost for us,” Corcoran said.
The team talked about what they need to work on to make sure they’ll be able to make some noise come playoff time.
“Our main thing this year is “know your role” and we talk about that a lot. Know your role, whether it’s on the bench, on the floor, rebounding, defense, scoring. That’s our main thing this year and that’s what we try to push,” Salmi said.
“We have a lot of missed lay ups in the beginning, which we really need to work on. We get that pre–game jitters…and just coming out with that fire in the beginning,” said Farley.
“We got a couple notches in our belt and the girls are buying into this. We’re having a lot of fun, especially over the break. You don’t want to destroy them. We got to have some fun. I play Christmas music sometimes, just kind of goof off but at the same time, explain to them that this is a time to work,” Corcoran said.
And with Christmas just days away, the team revealed what one thing is on their Christmas list.
“I think the number one thing on my Christmas list was shoes. I really wanted some new shoes,” Salmi said.
“I’d like some clothes,” said Farley.
“I’d for our team’s free throw percentage to be above 80%,” Corcoran said.
Westwood will open the year at home against Bark River–Harris on January 11th.