Washington 1 (1).tif

Alisha Hollister (20) looks for a shot while Brooke Johnson(14) jockeys for position under the basket during Saturday’s game against Hampshire. Breanna Curtis is seen in the background.

The Washington girls basketball team has an undeniably new feel to it this year with a new coach in Collin Nusbaum, a new offense and a new outlook.

Nusbaum, who also coaches the baseball team and serves as a football assistant, has only been coaching the girls basketball team for around a month.

“I didn’t know that I was going to be the coach until two weeks before the season,” Nusbaum said.

“I was originally going to take a season off.”

When the opportunity came to be the girls’ head coach, Nusbaum was eager to step in.

The reaction from the girls has been a positive one.

“The girls have been supportive and their attitudes have been great,” Nusbaum said. “They work hard and they listen well.”

First impressions are lasting ones and Nusbaum likes what he sees so far.

“This group’s GPA has to be 4.0,” Nusbaum said. “They are really intelligent. They listen, they try to pick on things and think for themselves.

“It’s fun having a really smart group,” he said. “Overall, they’ve been awesome.”

While the team to Nusbaum probably still has a newness to it, the girls aren’t new to the game.

“There’s actually a lot of talent and experience here and there’s a lot of skill here too,” Nusbaum said.

“We’ll start to figure out what the girls can do once we get a little bit of game experience. The girls have really bought in to what I have been teaching.”

The Patriots have started the season out at 0-2, but with the newness of the coaching staff and when you consider the adjustments the team is having to make, the season is still a young one.

But after limited action, Nusbaum is starting to get a better idea of what his team is capable of.

“Defensively, we’re a pretty good basketball team,” Nusbaum said. “There are a couple of adjustments, that I am getting used to coaching the girls game, and need to make. We need to put in a few more set plays to get some of the girls a better look at the basket.  We’ve proved to ourselves that we can have a pretty good basketball team if we work at it.

“The offensive system is new for them. It’s new for me in that the girls game is a little different from the boys.  In that first game, we saw a few pressures that I didn’t expect to see. The girls are really buying into what we’re doing here and that’s important.”

Nusbaum sees a lot of potential on this year’s team. He expects strong leadership from four seniors, Alisha Holister, Breanne Curtis, Brooke Johnson and Agnese McAllister.

Johnson gives the Patriots a lot firepower from the off guard position.

“She’s our best shooter,” Nusbaum said. “If she gets her feet set, she’s going to knock it down.”

McAllister is the team’s leader from a defensive standpoint and will likely guard the other team’s best player night in and night out.

“She is probably one of the better, if not the best defenders we have,” Nusbaum said. “She plays super hard. She really works hard.

Hollister gives the Patriots some toughness in the paint.

“She’s more of a 4 or a 5, she’ll go down low and post up,” Nusbaum said. “She does a good job of boxing out and rebounding.”

Curtis is a guard Nusbaum is expecting to help lead his team this year.

“She works super hard, plays super hard,” Nusbaum said. “She’s a vocal leader on the floor. She can do some things for us offensively and is really one of our defensive leaders.”

The talent and ability for this year’s team doesn’t stop there, as Nusbaum explained.

Scarlett King is a junior who offers the Patriots a little bit of everything.

“Scarlett has the potential to be one of the better players in our conference, if not the best,” Nusbaum said. “She’s long, she’s athletic. We’ll put the ball in her hand at point, we’ll post her up. She’s an excellent defender. She’s a good rebounder. She can be special.”

Marley Smith, also a junior, offers the Patriots some toughness.

“She’s a grinder,” Nusbaum said. “She can box out, rebound. She might not score a ton of points, even though she has the ability to. She does the little things really well that help you win games. I can see her role expanding really soon.”

Nusbaum also sees quite a bit of potential in his four sophomores, Carman Skinner, Olivia Saunders, Alexis Dinterman and Leah Weller.

Skinner is 6-foot tall and will give the Patriots a serious presence in the paint. Her fundamentals are sound, as Nusbaum explained.

“She’s a strong player,” Nusbaum said. “She does a good job of keeping the ball above her head when she’s down low. She’s quiet, handles her business and plays hard.”

 

Saunders will likely get most of the time at point guard. Her decision making abilities are solid and she plays tough defense.

“She’s tough as nails and is a gritty ball player,” Nusbaum said. “She’s going to get into the paint and get to the foul line.  She handles it really well and is one of the real vocal leaders on the team even though she’s a sophomore.  I am really looking forward to Olivia progressing and having a pretty good sophomore season.”

Weller will see time at point guard and off guard. Her skills are coming along, as Nusbaum pointed out.

“She’s got some real nice skills, she’s still developing a little bit,” Nusbaum said. “She can shoot it, has good ball handling skills and she can get into the paint.”

Dinterman should give the Patriots an offensive spark.

“Lexi is one of the girls we have splitting time on the varsity and JV teams,” Nusbaum said.

“She’s got a nice shot.”

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