NORWALK, Conn. – This is not the season that Brien McMahon High School girls basketball coach Mark McElveen expected. Injuries, off-court issues and inexperience have led to a 2-15 record for the Senators, whose season continues Thursday at home against Ridgefield.
There have been signs of progress. In a game last week against Trinity Catholic, the Senators played well in the first half and were down just 27-25 entering the third quarter. The Crusaders pulled away in the second half to win 59-44; there have been some other narrow losses.
The Senators have lost seven straight heading into the Ridgefield contest.
“Last year, I wasn’t frustrated,’’ McElveen said. “When you play freshman and sophomores, you can’t get frustrated. I know we’re in one of the toughest conferences in the state. As long as I can get the girls to play hard, I’m OK with that. I think last year they did that. This year, my frustration came from stuff off the court.”
There are some talented players in McMahon’s lineup. Sophomore guard Kayla Crosswell, who torched Trinity for 30 points, is a developing point guard with a bright future. Sophomore Aleigh Fitzpatrick, who has been injured most of the season, has shown promise.
Kim Duhart, a sophomore and the team’s leading rebounder, was lost for the year with an injury. And the Senators’ roster is dominated by underclassmen still learning the game.
But after going 3-17 last year, McElveen had hoped for more this season. The Senators are just 9-48 in the past three years, and have been a sub .500 team in six of the past seven years.
That’s a far cry from a team that has had its share of success in the past. McMahon won back-to-back Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference titles in 2003-04 and has had several Division I college players over the years. McElveen, who replaced long-time coach Ed Faulkner at the start of the 2009-10 season, went 13-8 in his first season. The falloff in the last few years has been dramatic.
“They’re very inconsistent,’’ McElveen said. “When they make their mind up that they want to play, good things happen. I’m hoping they’re learning from it. I’m learning from it. I hope it can carry over to the next game, and to next year.”
The Senators wrap up their season next week with games against Harding and St. Joseph.
McElveen, a former standout at McMahon who has been around the Norwalk basketball landscape for more than 30 years, hopes the Senators can begin to put it together next season.
“We’re definitely better than our record,’’ McElveen said. “A couple of those losses were the result of discipline issues, and we couldn’t get the right girls on the court at the right time. I really think we’re a year away from where we can be that middle-of-the-road team, maybe get into the league playoffs, and maybe make some noise in states.”