Thompson, Hensley finish four-year varsity careers with positive outlook
Though faced with numerous obstacles this year, senior captains Brandi Thompson and Nicole Hensley set out to complete their fourth season in girls' basketball. After sustaining the loss of four seniors from last year, the two embarked on a recruiting mission, ultimately coming away with a small, determined team.
The girls' varsity basketball team faced numerous challenges this year after loosing four seniors and the head coach from the previous season. Despite these obstacles, two senior captains, Brandi Thompson and Nicole Hensley, returned to the court with determination.
In the beginning of the season, forming the team was difficult due to a lack of players. However, Thompson and Hensley did not give up; with their dedication and effort, they were able to recruit seven players.
Even after the team was created, there was a tremendous amount of responsibility on the captains' plates. Most of the players that joined were inexperienced and lacked any prior knowledge about basketball. Although it might have been difficult for the seniors to play with newcomers, they guided the team with their strong leadership.
At the end of the season, Thompson and Hensley share their experience as the WSL season comes to an end.
Seo: How was this season different than previous seasons?
Hensley: This season had been by far the most challenging. It started with getting a new coach and trying to fill the roster. These challenges required me as well as Brandi to adapt to a completely new situation that neither she nor I had been before.
Seo: What did you have to do as a captain in order to lead the team?
Hensley: As practices and pre-season games came along, as a captain I had to learn how to lead and teach these girls as first-year varsity players. I had to teach them how to play and also how to react out on the court.
Seo: How was it working with players that were new to the sport?
Hensley: It was hard as they have had limited to no experience ever in basketball. But when the season came along, we had made so much improvement. I am so proud of the girls for giving all the time and effort they did to become better.
Seo: Was it hard for you to know that the girls were looking up to you?
Hensley: This season has taught me many things such as how to be a leader through my actions and words and how to control my emotions in frustrating situations. I am glad my teammates taught me those things; they taught me skills that I did not learn until this year.
"We made some fun memories despite the hard times we faced in our basketball season. We all got really close through basketball and we have great relationships both on and off of the court." --Nicole Hensley, '12
Seo: How was it playing with girls you barely know?
Hensley: I am so glad I got to know the girls who played this year. We made some fun memories despite the hard times we faced in our basketball season. We all got really close through basketball and we have great relationships both on and off of the court. Overall, we had a great season and I am thankful that we did not give up in difficult situations.
Seo: As a member of the 2010 CIF Central Section Division V Valley Championship team, was it natural for you to focused on winning and being competitive?
Thompson: During this season we have had our ups and downs but it had been fun. Being a senior and captain on the team has made me realize that going through this year with a whole new team and coaching staff would not be about winning or loosing. Instead, it would be about having fun.
Seo: How do you feel about the younger classes coming out to the court this season?
Although the season started rocky, both Thompson and Hensley determined to remain positive, despite their disadvantages. Resolved to finish their last season strong, the seniors mentored their teammates, growing closer to them as a result.
Thompson: I have got to know these girls better than I ever thought I would. I appreciate all these girls who came out and worked so hard to help Nicole and I out our senior year. I truly appreciate their effort and I am thankful that they gave us a chance to play for the last year.
Seo: What advice do you have for the rest of the team?
Thompson: I have been playing basketball for a long time; there were several times when I wanted to give up. Despite hardships, I moved forward and it definitely paid off. I would tell the girls to try their best no matter what. Also, it is important that they play hard all the time so they don't regret anything later on.
Seo: You were mainly a post player last season, but this season you played guard. Was switching positions difficult for you?
Thompson: No, it was not as hard as I thought it would be. I think it's because I played every position last year. I was in the post for the most part; but I still got to learn what do to in each position.
Seo: What was the hardest part of the season?
Thompson: Coming into the season with only Nicole who knew how to play was hard at first. But to my surprise, my teammates learned the plays, rules of basketball and everything else extremely fast. Soon enough, everyone started to contribute; I was definitely impressed with their willingness to learn and play hard.
Seo: You and Hensley both had coach Josh Tosland for the past two years. Was it hard for you to adjust to the new coaching system?
Thompson: I was definitely used to Tosland's coaching style. So it was a little different when new coaches came this year but it was a good change. I was able to adjust to the new coaching system pretty fast. Because coach [Santino] Reynolds always supports us no matter what, coach [Jim] White has been our assistant coach for the past eight years and I played with coach [alumnus Michele] Graham, '11, since fifth grade so she knew my weaknesses and strengths.
For more information about the varsity girls' basketball season, read the Girls' basketball sport shorts.