Pictured last year against Needham, sophomore guard Brooke Walonis (10) will look to help Walpole High School girls basketball to a successful season in 2020-2021. Photo by Mike Flanagan.
By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
If it were a normal year, Walpole High School girls varsity basketball would have all the pieces returning to have a very successful season and potentially make a long tournament run. Unfortunately for Walpole, this is not a normal year. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has forced high school basketball teams around the state to play a condensed 10-game, conference-only schedule, and there will not be a state tournament.
Along with drastic schedule changes, players will need to wear a mask at all times and adjust to a plethora of rule changes, including no jump-balls and no inbounds plays from under the basket.
Despite all the uncertainty ahead, the Walpole girls enter the 2020-2021 season simply thankful for the opportunity to play the game they love. Leading Walpole this season will be two co-captains in senior forward Shannon Jordan and junior guard Natalie Griffin. Two other notable returners for Walpole who contributed as freshmen last season are guards Brooke Walonis and Haley Brigham.
"As a team, we’re definitely trying to make the most out of the season we have and win as many games as possible," said Walonis when asked about her team's general goals for 2020-2021. "This year will also be a big growing year for us because we are a younger team. We’re all super excited for the chance to play and get better and have high hopes for the season."
When it comes to the new rules, Walonis says she and her teammates have adjusted accordingly throughout the preseason and will continue to do so as Walpole goes about its schedule.
"The new COVID rules have taken some time to adjust to, but everyone’s been really good about wearing their masks and using hand sanitizer during breaks and everything," said Walonis. "Coach Wall has been super helpful and walked us through all the precautions we have to take, and has been helping us adapt to the new rules on the court. Things will definitely look different during games and I think it will take sometime to get used to, but we would all rather play with some restrictions than not have a season at all."
Walpole will begin their season on January 8 on the road at Milton at 6:30 p.m.
For funny and incisive sports analysis as well as video highlights of games, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter and Instagram handles @flano0.