COVENTRY- With the 2018-19 season now in the rearview mirror, the time has come to look back at the year that was for the Coventry High School girls’ basketball team.
The most notable aspect of the Oakers season centered around the fact that the team dropped down to Division II after a string of years in D-I, including a 2015/16 run that saw them make it to the finals of the state tournament.
After failing to make the postseason in each of the last two years, Coventry made the jump down to Division II this year, a move that was temporary from the get-go with the intent on refining certain aspects of their program before transitioning back up to D-I.
By all accounts, that plan appears to be right on schedule.
The Oakers went 13-4 this year (15-5 overall), making it to the semifinals of the D-II Tournament before falling to Westerly, one of just two teams to finish ahead of them in the standings. Classical brought an end to any hopes Coventry had at a state title with a 48-40 win the following week, but by all accounts the year as a whole was a promising one for the Oakers.
“It is still my goal to move back up to D-I after next season,” head coach Donna Beaudoin said.
“This year, we had a very successful season at bon the varsity and jayvee level. My hope is that the younger players who were successful on the jayvee team will be ready to compete at the varsity level next year and work hard to grow and improve next season to get us competitive for D-I in 2020-21.
Coventry’s jayvee squad had just one loss on the year before falling to Scituate in the state championship game.
On the varsity level, success was a constant throughout the course of the regular season, with the Oakers never losing consecutive games over the course of any one stretch.
Junior Madison Dessert (1st Team All-Division, 2nd Team All-Class) served as a the team’s primary source of offense from day one and will be counted on by Beaudoin to do the same next year as a senior.
As for this year’s senior class, each will be missed next year. Loren Messier and Elena Santilli finished with All-Division honors, while Rylee Campbell was named to the Academic All-State Team. Jordan Messier was “an outstanding teammate, with her defensive contributions not going unnoticed,” Beaudoin added.
Highlights of the year, on top of the overall impressive 13-4 record the team accumulated, included winning the Ocean State Holiday Tournament, defeating Juanita Sanchez in the quarterfinals and qualifying for the state tournament.
Beaudoin hopes to see more of the same next year. In addition to Dessert, Mikayla Gaulin, who will also be a senior, will be called upon to provide leadership, particularly on the offensive end of the court. Freshman Logan Bullock, who was sidelined with an ankle injury midway through the season is also expected to be a key component of next year’s squad in what they hope will serve as a tuneup for a return to D-I.