Blair Garrett

The Catoctin High School girls basketball team has seen the highs and lows of a season, but some off-court adjustments have turned their season around.

Head Coach Amy Entwistle knows the ins and outs of playing tactical defense, rebound control, and running an offense, but the team’s December struggles may have been stemming from some chemistry and confidence issues.

The team won just one game throughout the holiday season, but the Cougars have been electric in January, holding a 6-1 record over the past seven games.

“This month has been huge for us,” Entwistle said. “December was a learning process. We only won one game.” The growth of the team can be attributed more to the players’ mental game than tweaking shooting mechanics or strategizing differently. “They did a great job of trusting the process and working hard every day. Our goal is to get better every day, and this month is a testament to staying positive.”

The drastic improvement in play has many pieces to it, but the backbone of the success the Cougars have seen during January has been built on the comradery and team-building exercises the coaching staff has implemented.

“We’re actually reading a book as a program called the Energy Bus. It just talks about how to remain positive, but it’s more in persevering,” Entwistle said. “We had a lot of struggles and adversity in December. They stayed positive, they persevered, and we’re focused on what we can control, not what we can’t.”

Everyone from the coaching staff to the players to the parents have bought in to the system. “Even some of the parents are reading the book now,” said Entwistle.

The team has developed around the off-the-court changes, and the results are clear. “Our Saturday practices now have maybe 45 minutes of shooting, and then we, as a program, go up to the library with the JV and Varsity and do a book study with activities,” Entwistle said. “At the end of the day, do we want to win? Absolutely. But we also want to prepare them for beyond the basketball court.”

The team has a few key rematches in the coming weeks that could make or break the season for the Cougars. Catoctin High’s next home match-up is against Brunswick on February 5 at 7:00 p.m.

Player Of The Month

Catoctin’s Raegan Smith is your high school player of the month for January. Smith is averaging 9.4 PPG and a team-high 8.3 rebounds per game. Smith is a senior at Catoctin, and her on- and off-court dedication to the game has been a pivotal reason for the team’s success as of late. Nearly averaging a double-double in PPG and rebounds, Smith is not only putting up strong offensive performances, but she has continued to contribute on the defensive end of the court, too. Smith tallies two steals per game as well. Congrats to your high school Player Of The Month, Raegan Smith!

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