Foggy
63°
Foggy
Hi 84° | Lo 60°

Wasps Aiming High: After a Year Away, Woodstock Girls Back on the Court

  • Running an offensive play during practice at Woodstock Union High School, Mariah Luce, right, passes while covered by Loretta Blakeney, left, Wednesday, December 4, 2013.  Woodstock Union girls' basketball is playing varsity again after taking a year at the junior varsity level to rebuild the team. Thursday they will scrimmage Whitcomb - Rochester.<br/>(Valley News - James M. Patterson)

    Running an offensive play during practice at Woodstock Union High School, Mariah Luce, right, passes while covered by Loretta Blakeney, left, Wednesday, December 4, 2013. Woodstock Union girls' basketball is playing varsity again after taking a year at the junior varsity level to rebuild the team. Thursday they will scrimmage Whitcomb - Rochester.
    (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Emily Chase of Woodstock Union girls' basketball high fives coach Roger St. Hilaire after sinking a shot during practice in Woodstock, Vt. Wednesday, December 4, 2013. The Woodstock girls are back to varsity after taking a year with only a j.v. program. <br/>(Valley News - James M. Patterson)

    Emily Chase of Woodstock Union girls' basketball high fives coach Roger St. Hilaire after sinking a shot during practice in Woodstock, Vt. Wednesday, December 4, 2013. The Woodstock girls are back to varsity after taking a year with only a j.v. program.
    (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Running an offensive play during practice at Woodstock Union High School, Mariah Luce, right, passes while covered by Loretta Blakeney, left, Wednesday, December 4, 2013.  Woodstock Union girls' basketball is playing varsity again after taking a year at the junior varsity level to rebuild the team. Thursday they will scrimmage Whitcomb - Rochester.<br/>(Valley News - James M. Patterson)
  • Emily Chase of Woodstock Union girls' basketball high fives coach Roger St. Hilaire after sinking a shot during practice in Woodstock, Vt. Wednesday, December 4, 2013. The Woodstock girls are back to varsity after taking a year with only a j.v. program. <br/>(Valley News - James M. Patterson)

Woodstock — Woodstock Union High has a football team that can’t lose, but has a girls basketball team that has a grim record, but a hopeful future.

The situation is quite alarming. The Wasps, who did not field a varsity team last year, has lost its last 52 varsity games when they did play. Only 11 girls in the entire school are out for the sport this winter. On top of that, varsity coach Roger St. Hilaire said he recently went to a middle school practice and only nine girls participated.

“It’s a very tough situation,” St. Hilaire said.

Indeed, and there seems to be no long term solution.

St. Hilaire said he also talked to Woodstock Recreation Director Joel Carley and showed him some of the drills he works on with his team. St. Hilaire said he thought some of the drills could benefit at a younger level.

“There seems to be some talented third and fourth graders down there,” said St. Hilaire. “I guess I just have to survive that long.”

The Woodstock coach, who has a lot of AAU experience, came onto the scene at the start of last season, taking over a team that had not won since a victory over Bellows Falls in January 2010. After that victory, Woodstock lost its next 11 games that winter and followed that with 0-21 and 0-22 seasons. Not exactly numbers that would entice girls to try out for the sport.

But there are other reasons. It’s not that the girls at Woodstock are not participating in athletic events, they are just not playing basketball. It perhaps is no longer the sport of choice. The ski team, for example, routinely fares well at the regional and state meets.

“We haven’t had a winning program in long time,” said St. Hilaire.

Last season, there were 12 girls playing basketball at the start of the season and eight when the season was over.

The girls that quit the team during the season didn’t set well with junior Amber Barcomb.

“If you commit to the program, you should see it all the way through,” she said.

Jeff Thomas, the Woodstock Athletic Director, told the Valley News last winter that the decision to abandon the varsity season came when he was reading off the lineups for the teams that were playing Woodstock.

“I was reading off the announcements for the starting lineups and it would be senior guard, senior forward and I would introduce our team as freshman, freshman with maybe two juniors,” Thomas said. “Our numbers have been terrible. That’s really a jayvee team.”

Playing a junior varsity schedule last winter, the girls were 12-2. Six of those girls returned, none of whom are seniors. The roster is rounded out six freshmen, three sophomores and two juniors.

Barcomb and junior teammate Schuyler Benoit are playing basketball because they love the game.

“It’s my favorite sport,” said Barcomb.

Added Benoit: “It’s the only sport I play. I love playing basketball.”

St. Hilaire said his patience is fine and the players on the team understand the situation.

“We had a pretty good summer program and we’re just going to go out and attack people,” he said. “I’m excited for the season. And you know when you have girls like Schuyler and Amber, you want to keep the sport alive for them.”

Benoit looks at the team as not only one with a lot of potential, but she’s sure that losing streak will be coming to an end.

“We’re determined to win some games,” she said.

“I like this team and I think we’re going to be competitive,” added Barcomb.

Woodstock will be playing in the D Division of the Marble Valley League, which St. Hilaire likes. However, he’s not too happy to be playing in Division II come tournament time.

“We’d be playing the likes of Hartford and that just doesn’t seem right for a school of our size,” he said.

Opening day is Dec. 14 at South Royalton.

CORRECTION

The Woodstock Union High girls basketball program last won a varsity game in January 2010, a stretch of 52 consecutive contest. An earlier version of this story inaccurately reported the length of the losing streak.