NEW BRITAIN - It has been a tough stretch for the New Britain girls basketball team as of late.
After winning their first two games of the season under the direction of first-year head coach Marc Wesoly, inconsistent play and injuries have hampered the Hurricanes since. The result - New Britain has now lost four in a row following Monday night’s 62-42 rout at the hands of Newington and five of its last seven.
But Wesoly isn’t blaming his team’s recent struggles on the string of injuries alone.
“In high school basketball sometimes the ball will go in [the basket] and sometimes it won't, but there has to be something else,” Wesoly said. “We have to have that something else, and that something else is the heart and effort. There’s no excuse because we're down with so many injuries.”
As much as the head coach doesn’t want to make injuries an excuse, three of the Hurricanes’ key players are not 100 percent. In fact, New Britain hasn’t been 100 percent all year.
Senior forward Inanna Rice was injured in a game last Thursday. She hit the floor as one of her teammates, and a player from the other team fell on top of her knee. Rice hasn’t played since.
Junior center Brianna Clarke and senior guard Gabby Roy also are not up to speed. Roy started the season with pneumonia, taking her out of many practices and multiple games.
“It has affected us a lot, because some of those players are our star players,” New Britain sophomore Raven Symone Jarrett said.
“It hurts not having Inanna Rice, it hurts not having Gabby Roy at 100 percent, Brianna Clarke’s not 100 percent,” Wesoly said. “We have to get healthy. Once we get healthy, we’re a pretty good team. Once we get there were going to be something special, we just gotta get there.”
Wesoly would have liked to be all better two days ago, but that was not the case and it could still be some time, with 12 games remaining, before the Hurricanes are back to being close to full strength.
“We’re looking at another week or two to get us healed, healthy, to get back into shape,” Wesoly said.
Besides catching the injury bug, New Britain has been hampered by an inconsistent schedule. The Hurricanes had two days off last week due to weather, pushing one of its games to Saturday.
“One thing that did hurt us was having school break,” Wesoly said. “The routines, coming to school, having study hall, going to work out, we didn’t have those routines. [Monday] we finally got back into it.
“High school kids, they need a routine and us getting back into school, getting through those routines again, I think that’s what’s going to help us get back into basketball form.”
But the good news is New Britain believes the tough stretch of its schedule is almost over.
“These five games are the toughest stretch we’ve had, will have all season,” Wesoly said.
During their losing streak, the Hurricanes saw Wilbur Cross, Wethersfield, Windsor and Newington. They will then play Farmington on Thursday before playing a team from New York, Medgar Evers, at home on Saturday.
“We need to get five more [wins to make the state tournament],” Wesoly said. “Ideally, I’d like more than that, but right now it’s get eight [wins] and get in. Hopefully that comes a lot sooner than later. Going into the season, [we knew] our schedule is really tough compared to years past and for us to get over this hump we have to get through this.
“We’re going to take our bumps and our bruises and we just have to keep working every single day in practice, we have to improve in practice and if we improve in practice it will start to show in the game.”
Shelby Iava can be reached at (860) 801-5096 or email@example.com