BAR HARBOR — The Mount Desert Island High School freshmen girls’ basketball team went 6-7 on the season, a solid performance for a small group just getting the feel of high school competition. “The girls would have great games and bad games,” Coach Meghan Cunningham said. “Either they were on 100 percent, or they just weren’t there.”
They won their first game of the season, which was against John Bapst. “We were excited about that,” Cunningham said. In order to get as many games in as possible, the MDI freshmen were sometimes matched up with the JV teams from other schools. Wins against Bangor also helped build confidence.
The team loved playing the Brewer freshmen, and they had three chances with them. In the first, they lost by 6 points. They lost the second Brewer game, in a round-robin tournament hosted by Nokomis.
“Then, in the last game of the season, we had it within 1 point,” she said. It was an end-of-season tournament with four teams, hosted by Brewer. MDI beat Bangor in their first tournament game and took on Brewer immediately afterwards. “Our girls wanted to win so much. Brewer is a really good team,” Cunningham said. The game ended in another loss by 6 points, but it was a strong performance by the Trojans and a great game, she said.
This was Cunningham’s first season coaching at MDI. “I’ve always wanted to coach, but my husband was in the military, so I was moving all the time, I didn’t really get the chance,” she said. She is an Ellsworth High School alum and played basketball for the Eagles.
While in high school, she helped coach youth basketball travel teams and learned she enjoyed coaching. She jumped at the chance when she saw an advertisement for a freshman coach at MDI.
The freshman team worked closely with the JV girls and their coach, Greg Linscott. “I learned so much from him,” Cunningham said. “He was really helpful. My girls and the JV girls were really close.”
Cunningham said she saw enormous improvement in the team’s cohesion and communication. Most of them had not played together before. “They were really playing as a team,” she said. “I didn’t have set starters; I could put any of them in, and they did well. We took a lot of different opportunities that way.”
She hopes to return next year if sufficient numbers of freshmen come out for basketball. “I’m also looking forward to seeing the girls I had this year advance,” she said. “It was a great first season.”