Girls Basketball Seeks Stability Before Targeting Return to Glory Years

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The Branson Girls Basketball team once frequented the pages of the Marin Independent Journal because of their success.

With a surge of new players, the Branson Girls Varsity Basketball Team is bigger than in recent years. After a few seasons of low numbers and changing leadership, the team aims to create a strong program for the future as it prepares for the 2015-16 season.

This year the team has eleven players, some of whom are new and some of whom are returning. While its membership has grown, the Bulls do not have enough players for a junior varsity team, so all the girls must play varsity, including athletes who have never played basketball before.

The goal is to get better irrespective of the record, says new head coach Charlene Murphy. “I never measure our team based on wins and losses, just on improvements,” she said. “I think as long as we are working hard and focusing on working as a team it will be a successful season.”

Veteran members of the varsity squad note the positives of having a young team.  “We are going back to the basics and that’s good for everybody,” said senior and team captain Katie Madden.

In the past four years, the team has seen three different Head Coaches, which has most likely contributed to the lack of new players. With Ms. Murphy at the helm, the team believes it has found stable leadership. “[Coach Murphy] has brought new energy to the team,” said Katie.

According to Ms. Murphy, “families and players are attracted to stability.” She added that along with the changes in coaching staff, an increase in “specializing in [certain] sports” has also played a part in the decreased numbers.

In order to attract future players, coach Murphy said she plans to create a “positive, high-energy, and intense” culture, while simultaneously “creating a greater presence in the community.”

Branson’s Girls Varsity Basketball Team has seen great triumphs in the past. However, after winning the Division V state championship in both 2008 and 2009 and winning the MCAL championship in 2010, the team struggled by its lofty standards. Ms. Murphy and the Bulls now hope to rebuild to program to former glory. It may take time, but as coach Murphy says, “I am here for the long haul.”

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