By Adolphus Ames –
For the past few weeks, coaches and players throughout the Eastern Shore have been preparing to return to the basketball court.
The Northampton Yellow Jackets girls basketball team has been practicing for the past two weeks. “We have almost an entirely new squad this year,” said head coach Devin Allen. “Only three players are returning. They are seniors now, but were freshmen last time we played.”
This season will be the first time the team has stepped onto the court since winter 2020. That season, the Yellow Jackets were undefeated and advanced to the regional semi-finals. Their 2021 season was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The new roster is one of the biggest challenges the Yellow Jackets are facing this season. “We’re a very young team,” said Allen. “Right now, we’re focusing on building team chemistry and mastering the fundamentals.”
Offense is another challenge the team faces. “Last time we played, our team had the Eastern Shore offensive player of the year and some of the top scorers in the district,” said Allen. “This year, we’re going to have to work on using defense to generate offense.”
Allen’s overall goal this season is to take the team as far as she can. “The goal is to get better every day,” she said.
The Northampton boys basketball team is facing similar concerns. Like the girls, it has been two seasons since the team last stepped onto the court
“This is an entirely new team,” said boys head coach Wayne Bell, now in his ninth year leading the Yellow Jackets. “We’re starting over and this is a rebuilding season. Right now we’re focusing on controlling tempo, maximizing basketball IQ, and minimizing turnovers.”
Due to the roster overhall, Bell plans to run an entirely new scheme. “It looks like we’re going to be small sizewise,” he said. “I don’t think we’re going to dominate the board, so our philosophy and style will definitely change. ”
Bell’s goal this season is to win. “The goal this year is to win the district,” he said. “And see the players improve each day.”
Both Northampton varsity teams open up their seasons the first week of December.