Davis and his Lady Rams stay upbeat during L of a downbeat losing season
January 31, 2019 at 8:23 a.m.
Port Chester Lady Rams new varsity hoops coach Danny Davis was trying to put a positive spin on his gallant team's home loss to Scarsdale last Wednesday (1/23) by a score of 85-33, a staggering 52-point differential, one of their worst losses during what amounts to an L of a lost season.
But Davis was not discouraged.
"The girls are trying hard, they are learning, they are motivated, and they are very much part of a rebuilding program that is only going to get better," Davis said. "Without them, there wouldn't be any kind of basketball program at all. And they have three outstanding examples of what they can become."
Lead by example
Davis was referring to the leadership example set by returning seniors Arianna Carlucci and Kyah Kramer and the solid play of senior Rhaven Black in her first year on the varsity.
"Carlucci is having some kind of a year," Davis said. "Day in, day out, she is our best player, best scorer, dribbler, rebounder, defensive player. I don't know where we would be without her."
He says virtually the same thing about Kramer who is also the team's best playmaker and dribbler.
It is the Carlucci-Kramer working of the give-and-go that is the team's best one-two punch.
Not surprising, really, because that duo ranks right up there with the Lady Rams’ best athletes, Carlucci also being an outstanding volleyball player as well as a Track & Field sprinter as well as a field events specialist in the high jump and long jump while Kramer is an All-League softball player who can play virtually anywhere in the lineup.
Black late bloomer
Davis sees the same kind of athletic ability in Black. "Too bad she waited until her senior year to come out for basketball because she has the makings of a very good basketball player," Davis said.
But that late varsity start by Black helps pinpoint how far the Lady Rams basketball program has to go.
For whatever reason, and there are lots of them ranging from what may have been an informal boycott of a fair but demanding coach from out of the area to a potential nucleus of players who were simply tired of losing. And without a positive early varsity feeder system to help turn around that losing basketball culture, the Lady Rams were on hoops life support. It was so bad that only 14 girls came out for the entire program last season.
That meant there were not enough players for a junior varsity or freshman team. And Port Chester fielded a varsity team that was a work-in-progress going through the growing pains that were part of a0-20 season where the inspired play of Carlucci and Kramer provided the only real bright spots.
Knows the territory
Davis, who coached the Lady Rams a few seasons back, stepped in once again to try to resurrect a losing program. Because he works in the Port Chester school district, he was already a known quality to the girls who bought into his idea of bringing a badly needed all-for-one, one-for-all determination to mold a team that could eventually become a winner.
Davis had to start by building a caring, family-like atmosphere during the first practices. And he had to build a foundation from the ground up. So he stressed the basics and came up with a hard-working team that essentially revolves around Carlucci, Kramer and Black but also includes determined athletes willing to go through the growing pains that are part of learning the ABCs of winning.
They are what this writer calls ballarenas because without them Port Chester wouldn't be able to compete on a varsity level in the very competitive arena that is Section One large school basketball.
That nucleus includes players like Jada Smith, Dayan Braydy, Maydelin Farias, Luz Gonzalez, Diana Monroy, Rodrenna Rivers and Xiomara Torres.
Davis appreciates how hard they are trying. He looks forward to making them even better players via off-season clinics including rival coaches along with Davis who will also be working with community leaders to build a better feeder system that will have players learning the fundamentals of the game from an early age. He is also talking up the possibility of his athletes stepping up their development by playing AAU ball off-season. And he is intensifying recruiting from within the Port Chester ranks with his current players talking up the team and its potential.
But all that is going to take time.
In the interim, Davis likes the way his Lady Rams are trying and hustling. He keeps them working on improving and staying positive despite a January that has been filled with Ls with the Lady Rams losing to Solomon Schechter 48-34 on Jan. 9, Mamaroneck (70-38 on Jan. 15), the previously mentioned loss to Scarsdale (85-33 on 1/23) and the latest losses to Irvington (57-29 on Jan. 25) and John Jay/East Fishkill (72-29 on Jan. 28).
That leaves the Lady Rams with five games left to go to work on their win column starting with the McDonald Tournament at Fox Lane Thursday (1/31 at 4 p.m. after press time) and Saturday (2/2) at Harrison at 5 p.m. followed by three home games to close out the regular season beginning with White Plains Wednesday (2/6), Nyack Friday (2/8) and Fox Lane the following Monday (2/11), all at 4:30 p.m.
But win or lose, and the Lady Rams have won only two games all season long, the girls are winners simply by stepping on the court and playing because, without them, Port Chester wouldn't have a varsity hoops squad competing against the other area schools’ teams, and that would be a crying shame.