Girls’ basketball dribbles into another season

Winter sports have begun and the Newbury Park High School Girls Basketball team is preparing for another great season. 

Kierabella Coletta-Todd, junior, started playing basketball at the age of seven. As a child, she was constantly surrounded by the sport, with many family members playing at different levels. “My brother played basketball in high school so I was always at his games watching them. It’s always been a thing I grew up around and loved,” Coletta-Todd said. 

Although school is her number one priority, she not only views basketball as a privilege, but also her passion. “I think that making sure I’m managing my time between the two makes it easier to handle both,” Coletta-Todd said. 

Playing for 14 years, Melanie Masson began her third year coaching the Girls’ Junior Varsity and assisting the Girls’ Varsity team. Through learning about teaching, Masson has found the importance to make sure athletes know they always have someone supporting them. “I always aim and hope to teach my athletes tips and skills on how to navigate life as a high schooler, and as an adult, because it’s hard,” Masson said.

During the off season, athletes worked heavily not only on improving skills, but also getting themselves as confident as possible. Masson says her favorite part about coaching is, “seeing athletes get better and more confident over time not only as basketball players, but as people too.”

For this upcoming season, Masson’s goal is to improve the record from the previous season, but also to bring and keep the energy up. “My strategy is to implement what the team feels most confident in running and to respond by tweaking our offense and defense based on what skills the opposing team is showcasing in that game,” Masson said.

As Ria Dudhia, senior at NPHS, begins her last season with the school, she is excited to be a part of creating a positive environment for the team. “This season I am looking forward to playing with my teammates and building stronger relationships with them on and off the court,” Dudhia said. 

Playing since she was 11 years old, Dudhia grew up around the sport, watching her brother play. “I started playing basketball because my family shared such a big love and passion for the sport, especially my brother,” Dudhia said. She grew up watching and always playing with her brother, simply starting in their backyard, however, her love slowly grew which made her want to play as well.

Kimiko Carmer, junior at NPHS, not only plays basketball, but also volleyball and flag football.  “I’ve always been involved in sports and I had a basketball hoop when I was younger so my dad and I would always play for fun. This is what got me acclimated to the sport and eventually I joined a team,” Carmer said. 

With this large amount of sports to participate in, Carmer finds it to be a challenge to balance her school work with sports and extracurriculars. “I always have to find pockets of time to do work wherever and whenever I can,” Carmer said. Although this is a great difficulty, reconnecting with teammates and having fun playing the game is something that Carmer looks forward to this season.

This year, Coletta-Todd is excited for the season to begin, especially the first home game and playing all together. “During this offseason, we’ve all worked hard on ourselves and can’t wait for that hard work to show,” Coletta-Todd said.