Local players on this year’s Shawsheen Tech Girls Basketball team

This year’s Shawsheen Tech Girls Basketball team includes local players from left, Emily Freitas of Wilmington, Kiley McFadden, Darielle Wilson, Mia Bisso, and Emma Lanziero of Tewksbury, and Ella Malvone of Wilmington. (photo by JoeBrownphotos.com).

BILLERICA – Over the past couple of seasons, many players and coaches have missed out on a lot due to the COVID-19 pandemic. One of those most affected this past basketball season was Shawsheen Tech Girls Basketball coach Kate Marshall, who was forced to miss the Rams season, a season which saw Shawsheen go 10-2 under the direction of former junior varsity coach Sam St. George to capture the CAC title.

While she was not on the sidelines for the Rams, Marshall was still very much involved with the team, and she is back on the sidelines this season, along with St. George, eager to once again lead a Rams team that will be primed to defend their title. Marshall was very impressed with what her team accomplished last season and grateful for the efforts of the coaching staff. She is also thrilled to be back for what she feels like can be another very good season for the Rams.

“Unfortunately, due to a medical condition I had to work remotely last year until I was able to receive a vaccination in the spring. It was the first time since I was five years old, that I wasn’t on a basketball court in some capacity in the winter months,” Marshall said. “I video conferenced the players after games and did recaps for the team with notes, but it wasn’t anything compared to what the other two coaches put into the season. Luckily my best friend, and former JV coach, Sam St. George stepped up, as did Kim Barriss (daughter of former 30-year coach Dick Barriss) and they managed the season flawlessly. They rolled with the punches, maintained COVID protocols and were able to bring the program immense success.”

While Marshall has returned to the sideline this season, some of the Rams key players will not, as the team lost six players to graduation, including co-captains Shelby Bourdeau and Susanna Gillis, who were the team’s statistical leaders in almost every category, as well as being great leaders for the team. Bourdeau has since moved on to play at Worcester State, and both players will be greatly missed by the Rams.

“Bourdeau and Gillis were a very unique duo and I don’t think their partnership can be “replaced” – instead we want to find new players who can rise to the occasion this season,” Marshall said. “Losing six seniors has left a big gap in our program, so we are definitely in a rebuilding season, but we’ve got a lot of young talent that coach St. George and myself are really excited about.”

Among the players the Rams are most excited about are their quad captains, including junior Kerry Brown, as well as seniors Karissa Rogato, Darielle Wilson and Tewksbury’s Ella Malvone.

“Kerry has made immense strides in our program. She is a coach’s dream when it comes to explaining something once, and her making immediate adjustments to her game. Basketball is not her primary sport, but due to her athleticism and natural leadership abilities, we are excited to see what Kerry produces this season,” Marshall said. “Karissa is a spitfire. She is may be small in stature, but she is mighty. If there is one word to describe Karissa it would be “fearless” on the court. She will drive to the hoop against any defender and sacrifice her body to get to the free throw line. If she could be on the court for every minute of the game she would be.”

Marshall has been equally impressed with her other two captains, Wilson and Malvone.

“Darielle (Wilson) was unable to play last season, and has come back better than ever. She has a quiet calmness about her that keeps her teammates in check, but once she steps on the court, she knows how to turn on the heat,” Marshall said. “She’s a very fun player to watch because she will continue to try new things to improve her game and always seeks out the coaches advice on how to improve.

“Ella Malvone is another great asset to the team. She’s a ball handler, outside shooter, and all-around motivator for the girls. She’s also one of the most competitive players we have and that’s always something nice to have when the games get close and you know she’s going to go out there and give it 110%.”

The captains will not be alone in trying to lead the Rams to a successful season, as Marshall will also be looking to junior guard Lindsay McCarthy as well as junior forward Kiley McFadden.

Lindsay has continued to develop in this program. She’s got an IQ for the game and we continue to encourage her to be one of our outside shooters. When her three-point shot is on, she adds an extra element to our game,” Marshall said. “Kiley is another player like Kerry (Brown). Basketball may not be her primary sport, but her athleticism and toughness on the court has continued to impress Coach St. George and I. She is great at the boards and battles it out against some of the tallest girls in the league to fight for rebounds.”

Other players expected to contribute to the Rams this season include sophomore guard/forward Lilly Dulong, junior guard Mia Bisso, and junior forwards Emma Spencer and Kali Spooner, along with freshmen newcomers Fiona Rexford, Izzy Ferguson and Emma Lanziero.

Despite suffering some tough losses to their lineup, Marshall and St. George are looking forward to another good season, albeit with a bit of a different look.

“I think the goal is always to have a successful season. We have made some tweaks to our program, for instance we are now “co-coaching” which means coach St. George and I are coaching both the JV and Varsity teams together with 50/50 roles,” Marshall said. “We have each done both roles now and with all the young prospects, we wanted to equally invest in our program as a whole. I think that this new way of doing things will help lead to a season of successes, and give us the ability to move players up into varsity spots throughout the season.”

• • •

The Rams got their season off to a strong start last Friday night with a 48-37 home win over Whittier, as Shawsheen overcame a slow start to come away with the impressive victory. Senior captain Karissa Rogato led the way for the Rams with 25 points, while fellow senior captain Kerry Brown chipped in with 11 points and five rebounds.

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