HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WDVM) – “I had schools that wouldn’t get on my schedule – that are now on my schedule because they saw the turnaround in the program.”
Consider that a benchmark for the Goretti Gaels girl’s basketball team. In their last five seasons, the Gaels have not had a losing record; finishing above .500, no matter how many games they’ve played.
It all points back to their Head Coach, Avery Carey; who joined the program after spending time as an assistant coach for Frostburg State University. Before joining Goretti, Coach Carey didn’t have any experience coaching at the high school level.
“I never coached High school before, so that was new to me.” said Coach Avery Carey, “I was at the college level at Frostburg State. But I never coached as a Head Coach, at the high school level.”
“I was wondering how would these girls work.” said Avery, “Are these girls going to be the type of girls that would play some high school basketball, and have fun doing it? Or do they want to take it to the next level. And what I found was, when I came in; the easiest thing for me to do was to have a one-on-one sit down conversation with everybody, which I try to do every year- to see where you’re at.”
Coach Carey says he runs his team almost like a college program; not only factoring in the success it’s brought the team, but the personal success that’s carried over for the players.
“There’s not like any freshman or sophomores, its you come in- they throw you in the deep end – and you gotta swim. And honestly I wouldn’t have it any other way.” said senior Camille Zinaich; starting point guard for the team.
“We even run some college drills, like ucla shooting, tennessee shooting, so we adapt from there.” said McKenna Rife, a starting forward for the team.
McKenna is currently looking for a chance at the possibility of playing Division I basketball, she said in an interview. And for her, joining the Gaels program made the most sense.
“He really pushes us and makes us have a lot of energy.” said McKenna, “I thought this was the program for me. Middle school was nowhere near as intense as this.”
Listening to the environment at a girl’s basketball team practice; you can understand what McKenna means by intensity. Coach Carey emphasized, that during drills, or games; if you’re not playing, or in the drill – you’re clapping and making noise. Being a part of the team, and contributing.
“I like to run a fast pace game, up and down- I like to press a lot. So its high speed, so I like the quick players- but more so when I recruit – I like the players that want to come here.” said Avery.
Avery emphasized that, not only have the girls given him their best, but he’s also been supported greatly by his coaching staff. A staff that also emphasizes the desire to coach the team, to their highest potential.
“I was familiar with the program, I was super excited. Being able to work with the girls, I mean I love coaching the girls because they listen more than the boys.” said James Briscoe while chucking. He’s been with the team since Coach Carey joined the program back in 2016. “I think that’s where we’re at, I think we can be in a position to be a champ.”
Despite the accolades; the Player of the Year awards, All-County, All-State, etc.; Coach Carey’s main message for his team, and for the program still keeps the girls future at its core.
“We just want to be as real as we could with the kids, that, ‘listen we’re gonna work hard, we’re gonna try to get the teams on our schedule, that are top 25 type caliber teams. Because if these girls are getting recruited to go d-1, d-2, d-3, then lets put our face in the place as well, so that we could be recruited as well.” said Coach Carey.