Pictured fighting for a rebound last season against Dedham, Sabrina Ryan (15) will serve as one of three DS varsity girls basketball captains in 2021. Photo by Mike Flanagan.
By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
It's a new, but extremely different year for the Dover-Sherborn Regional High School varsity girls basketball team.
The season's condensed 10-game span of strictly TVL games and no state tournament might not be all that grueling in terms of workload, but there is nothing easy about the 2021 high school basketball season for any athlete or coach.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced all MIAA basketball teams to adjust to new rules, such as no jump-balls, no inbound plays from under the basket, players being required to wear masks and to maintain socially distance on the bench. In order to get through this unprecedented season and make the most of their limited opportunity, the DS girls will have to adjust and make these rule changes the new norm.
Leading the Raiders in 2021 will be three senior captains: forward Kate Mastrobuono, forward Sabrina Ryan and guard/forward Meg Hanlon.
"I think we are definitely excited to be back in the gym," said DS head coach Kanee Chlebda when asked about her team's general vibe heading into the new season. "I've been at DS for a while now, and I don't think I've ever had a group of girls that has as much fun as these girls are having. So, I think we want to maintain that. Having fun this season is definitely our main goal, and to get all 10 of these games in. We love competing against the entire TVL, but one thing that is unique about this year is that we really get to focus on the TVL Small (Bellingham, DS, Dedham, Medway, Millis, Norton) with those [schools] being the only teams that we will play. Those are schools we feel we can play with."
As far as adjusting to the new COVID rules, Chlebda says her team's makeup of multi-sport athletes will definitely have its benefits. With more than half of the DS varsity girls basketball team having already played a fall sport as well as fall basketball, transitioning to the new rules and playing with masks on is something that many of Chlebda's players are used to by now.
"We have a lot of multi-sport athletes who played field hockey and soccer in the fall," said Chlebda. "I think its great, because the mask seems to be something they are all getting used to. Truthfully, I've had more of a difficult time when I get in there in practice with my mask on and show them how I want them to play defense or run a specific play. They are adjusting really well, so it's become second nature. Unfortunately, the one preseason scrimmage we were supposed to have against Westwood got cancelled due to contact tracing, so we've yet to really play an actual game with some of the new inbounds rules in place. It'll definitely be an adjustment, but we're confident we will figure it out and be able to adapt to new styles of basketball as the season progresses."
The Raiders will open their season on January 9 at home against Norton.
For funny and incisive sports analysis as well as video highlights of games, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter and Instagram handles @flano0.