KP Girls Basketball Squad Is a Goal-oriented Group
King Philip’s captains include, from left, Lilli Hickey, Madison Paschke and Jordan Bennett.
By Ken Hamwey
Staff Sports Writer
Two goals of the King Philip girls basketball team this season are to continue building a winning tradition and to maintain a positive culture. With Jeff Miszkiewicz back for his third season as head coach, those objectives should be achieved.
When the 33-year-old Miszkiewicz took the job, he became the Warriors third coach in four years. Stability for the program was a problem in the past but not anymore. The girls responded to his approach and philosophy and compiled a 10-10 record in his first season and were 11-9 last year. Both campaigns earned tourney berths.
“Our other goals are to qualify for the tourney again, go as deep as we can and to contend for the Kelley-Rex Division title,’’ Miszkiewicz said. “Our goals are set by both the coaches and the players and I believe all of them are realistic.’’
Optimism is in the air at KP because of a plethora of team strengths and seven returnees with varying degrees of experience.
“Our team strengths include depth, a high basketball IQ, athleticism, technique, team chemistry and a coachable nature,’’ said Miszkiewicz who previously coached the girls junior-varsity team at LaSalle Academy in Providence, R.I. “We’ve got six girls who could be starters and our athleticism is the best it’s been since I arrived at KP. Our players are skilled, their instincts are good and they’re very coachable. As for team chemistry, our captains do a great job promoting that.’’
The Warriors senior captains include forward Madison Paschke, point guard Jordan Bennett, and guard-forward Lilli Hickey.
“Madison, who’s 5-11, is an all-around player,’’ Miszkiewicz said. “She averaged seven points and seven rebounds last year. She’s got a high basketball IQ, knows how to get position, is a versatile defender and she leads by example and by being vocal and supportive.’’
Bennett was the team’s first player off the bench last year and often guarded opposing team’s top backcourt players. “Jordan is our fastest player,’’ Miszkiewicz said. “She’s a very good shooter, has excellent court sense, reads defenses well and is a top-notch passer. She makes other players more effective.’’
Hickey played only four games last year because of a serious ankle sprain. “Lilli can shoot and rebound,’’ Miszkiewicz noted. “And she boxes out well. She leads by example, is an excellent organizer and she’s vocal, always keeping everyone positive.’’
Two other seniors who’ll be key contributors are guard-forward Kylie Watson and guard-forward Kaelyn Clancy. Unfortunately, senior forward Taylor Regan will miss the entire season because of shoulder surgery.
“Kylie started last year,’’ Miszkiewicz said. “She provides instant offense whether it’s from inside, outside or from the three-point arc. She’s also a solid defender who hustles on both ends of the court.
“Kaelyn is a high energy, high impact player who can shoot threes and play strong defense. Losing Taylor is unfortunate. We lose her athleticism and her high basketball IQ. She took care of a variety of tasks on the court, like rebounding, shooting and playing defense.’’
Two talented 5-foot-8 sophomores who played meaningful minutes last year are point guard Jessica Persky and forward Madison Keough.
“Jessica creates offense and she’s adept at passing and finishing plays,’’ Miszkiewicz noted. “She’s athletic and has quick hands. She wants to play college ball. Madison could be the best shooter on the team. She’s a smart player who’s a smooth shooter. An instinctive player, she’s in the right place at the right time. She, too, wants to play at the college level.’’
Miszkiewicz says that KP will lean more towards a fast-pace style this season. “We’ll play a lot faster than in previous years and we’ll rely on a man-to-man pressure defense,’’ he emphasized.
The Warriors finished third in the Kelley-Rex Division last year but Miszkiewicz sees a wide-open pennant race this year. “Franklin and Attleboro will be strong contenders again,’’ he said. “They’re talented, have tradition and are well-coached. We’ll be a contender, too. Last year we won 10 games in the Hockomock League.’’
The Warriors will open their season at Stoughton on Dec. 12 and their home opener is Dec. 15 against Franklin. Non-league games include two against North Quincy and two more against teams in a Framingham tourney. KP’s tourney opponents will be against Shrewsbury, Chicopee or Framingham.
Miszkiewicz’ assistants will include Grace Davis (freshman coach), Brett Coderre (junior varsity coach) and Justin Feinberg (varsity assistant coach). Two volunteer coaches are Chris Wilson and Ellen Wagner.
When it comes to a philosophical approach, Miszkiewicz relies on a competitive style that focuses on winning, reaching one’s potential and having fun. “Those situations are all related,’’ he said. “Reaching one’s potential leads to winning and winning creates enjoyment and fun. There also are life lessons the girls can learn from sports. They ones I hope they learn are how to overcome adversity, to be resilient, be good communicators and good teammates.’’
Miszkiewicz, who’s been on the LaSalle Academy faculty for 10 years teaching English, coached the school’s jayvees for two years and also served as a varsity assistant for two seasons. He also was jayvee coach and varsity assistant for two years at East Greenwich High.
His KP Warriors are a team that’s still building a strong foundation. Experience and coaching stability are two key assets that should make the 2023 season one that puts a few more games in the win column.