Jordan Brown ‘19
Starting off the season ranked #10 in the nation, the Bishop McNamara girls’ basketball team has been having quite a successful season this year. Coached by Frank Oliver, the girls currently hold the rank of #3 in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference and #5 in the state of Maryland, according to MaxPreps. On February 13, the girls defeated the #2 ranked team in the nation, Paul VI, 63-58. With two key players leading the helm, Jakia Brown-Turner and Aliyah Matharu, both scoring over 1,000 points, the team has depth to compliment the team’s two stars. Although the team is doing well there has not been a huge turnout in terms of fans support at the games. You would think the school community would come out and support the girls’ basketball team. A team that actually has been having success year after year. Credit to Coach Oliver with pulling in transfers and recruits from everywhere. But the amount of fans at the girls games do not compare to everyone who shows up to the boy’s games. When students were asked if they had been to a women’s basketball game this year, they would quickly answer no, but when the question was if students had attended boys’ basketball games, the answer would be “definitely” and “of course!” The question is why? Are the girls’ games too late? Are they not as interesting as the boys? Is it simply because the players are girls? Why is the McNamara community not supporting our women’s basketball team?
The varsity girls basketball games begin before the varsity boys games, so the time can not be the problem. This season, Jakia Brown-Turner scored a career high of 45 points against Monsignor Scanlan, so it is not that the girls are not interesting. The girls are capable of putting up huge scoring outputs. The girls team currently holds twice as many conference wins as the boys. So, what is the real reason people do not go to their games as much as they do the boys? Steven Scott II said, “Not to be sexist, but [girl’s basketball games] don’t interest me. I want to see dunks, jump out the bleachers yelling, saying bang time!” Yes, it is a very rare to none case to see a dunk in a high school girls basketball game. A team with players that are able to dunk does not define how well they work together on the court as chemistry becomes a problem. Camryn Royster believes “The boys might be good individually, but that does not contribute to how they play as a team. The girls play together more than the boys do. They deserve more hype, not only because of their rankings, but because they are good as a whole, individually and as a team.” Based on how our school community hypes up the players on the boys basketball team, you would not think their team results this season would be what they are now. For some reason, the team that is ranked #49 in the state of Maryland is receiving more attention than the team ranked #47 in the nation.
Some complained their reasoning for not attending was the competitiveness in the game. “Even when you are watching the girls demolish somebody, you want to see a game with a come back, so it is competitive. But when there is a game where you are blowing them out all four quarters, you lose interest. If you are beating a team and they come back, the game becomes more interesting to watch,” which is fair, as the girls beat Archbishop Carroll by 99-29. “The scores at the boys games are closer, so the game will be more exciting than seeing the girls blow out a team by 80 points.” Wanting to see a game where both teams compete, rather than watching the boys team lose to Dematha by 34 points is understandable.
Despite the school fan base, the head coach, Frank Oliver, is confident in his young, versatile team and their hard work paying off to earn them a WCAC championship. “Our goal is to win a championship. We have a great team and if we win the championship, it will change the culture of the school. People will start to believe, come to the games, and support the girls. Everybody gets behind a winner. If we win the championship this year, I think there will be more interest in the girls team. We do have a lot of support though, people I do appreciate, dedicated, die hard fans. I think if we deliver a championship we will have the bleachers packed every game.” Right now, the girls’ basketball team is not focused on the fans in the stands, but the goal of a WCAC championship. The fans will come later. Like Coach Oliver said, “Everybody gets behind a winner.”
Be sure to support the girls as the WCAC playoffs begin, with our Lady Mustangs playing Saturday, February 24th at Dematha Catholic High School in the quarterfinals against Good Counsel.