March 20, 2024

Playing Harder, Smarter Down the Stretch, Stuart Basketball Ended Season with a Bang

MAKING A STATEMENT: Stuart Country Day School basketball player Taylor States dribbles past a foe in a game this winter. Sophomore forward States averaged 20 points and 12 rebounds this season in helping Stuart go 6-7. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

While the Stuart Country Day School basketball team got off to a shaky start this winter, the Tartans ended the season with a bang.

Stuart lost two of its first three games and had a 3-7 record in early February, but ended the campaign with three straight lopsided wins.

Tartan head coach Tony Bowman acknowledged that his squad was out of synch in the early going this winter.

“We went up to Lawrenceville and a couple of other schools and I don’t think we played as well as we should have,” said Bowman. “We didn’t play smart basketball and we didn’t move fast enough. We were a slower team in most of these cases.”

The Tartans got up to speed down the stretch, topping Central Jersey College Charter 74-21, Noor-ul-iman 74-23, and STEMCivics 69-26 in their last three games to finish the winter at 6-7.

“They came around, they got themselves together,” said Bowman. “They played harder for the last five, six games.”

Sophomore star forward Taylor States played really well all season long.

“Taylor averaged 20 points, 12 boards, it was a double-double as a sophomore,” said Bowman. “I am looking to increase those numbers. It was a little bit more aggression — following rebounds and looking for her shot. She didn’t look for her shot last season as much as she did this year. She didn’t have a problem with being asked to shoot more and she did.”

The squad’s trio of veterans, junior Annarose Bourgoin, sophomore Abby Chirik, and junior Rachel Enimil-Ashun, showed aggression as well.

“Annarose is probably my smartest player on the team. She comes to practice, she really works hard, and wants more information,” said Bowman. “Abby ended up shooting very, very well and looking for her shot. She had some decent games. Rachel was who I needed her to be at this time. She is a good rebounder and works hard.”

The Tartans boasted a quintet of freshmen — Hadassah Broughton, Myah Chennault, Ty’Ani Jones, Betsy Murphy, and Celia Struve-Auletta — who got some good minutes this winter.

“Hadassah was probably my most aggressive player,” said Bowman. “Myah is one of my better rebounders and she is my best shot blocker. She is one of the quickest players on the team as well. Ty’Ani is probably my best outside three-point shooter — she is quick as well. I am looking to get her to do more. Betsy has done well, she started off a little hesitant now she has got her big man moves down. She has bought into the system as well. She was showing promise and getting rebounds. Celia works hard every day. She comes to practice early, leaves late. She is a sponge. She is a kid that wants to work hard and find out what she can do.”

Looking to build on the late surge, the Stuart players are showing commitment over the offseason.

“Anybody who is not playing now is in weight training, we already started,” said Bowman. “Everybody will be playing or working out all summer.”

Bowman is confident that work will pay off next winter.

“I am happy about what is going to happen this next year if all of the kids come back and everybody is healthy,” said Bowman. “Everybody is gung ho about playing and ready to play next year. We are in a happy place.”