Although the official start of the 2022-’23 high school basketball season is still several months away, the Shawnee girls basketball team is already putting in the work this summer in preparation to build off a successful past winter.
During the last full week of July, the Renegades defeated Delran 47-21 in the championship game of the 2022 Garnet Basketball Summer League, securing an undefeated season and the teams first title in the summer league at Haddon Heights High School. This past season was the second of the tournament’s existence, with Shawnee having now participated in each of the past two seasons.
Chrissy McGovern, who will enter her 10th season at the helm for the Shawnee girls basketball team next school year, admitted that often times participation in summer leagues can be tough, between other travel teams and leagues taking up some players time, while others may be taking family vacations or enjoying the opportunity to get some rest after potentially playing three athletic seasons over the course of the past school year.
However, the dedication she’s seen from the current group of girls, McGovern said, indicates that this year’s senior class and younger players are looking forward to making a larger name for themselves during the 2022-’23 season.
“One of the hardest things as a coach can be the offseason and trying to get commitments for this kind of stuff,” McGovern said. “Everybody has their own things going on during the summer, so I take what I can get with who’s available … but my girls this summer look hungry to do even better this next season, they have some unfinished business.
“I see a hunger within them,” she added.
Shawnee went 24-4 last season, with three of the team’s four losses coming at the hands of division rival Cherokee, the last of which came in the NJSIAA South Jersey Group 4 sectional championship game. Fortunately for the Renegades, the team’s four leading scorers — Avery Kessler, Nia Scott, Nicole Miller and Kaylan Deveney — are returning this upcoming season for their senior years.
Scott led Shawnee in scoring with a game-high 18 points during the recent summer league championship game against Delran. Despite having been the team’s second-leading scorer last season, Scott said she entered the summer series looking forward to adding to her offensive game in preparation for a stronger season in the stat sheet.
“I’m looking to contribute more offensively,” Scott said. “I’ve been working hard on everything on offense, like trying to get a little more range on my shots and get used to those outside shots.”
After having lost in the playoffs last year during the league’s first summer season, Scott said the group came into the summer looking forward to going all the way, which the Renegades clearly did following their undefeated schedule.
“Hopefully this summer helped give us as a whole an idea of what we kind of need to work on in our personal games but then as a whole,” Scott said. “It’s all part of us building up to the actual season this winter.”
The team’s incoming senior class is vastly experienced at the varsity level, especially after experiencing such a successful season record-wise last season. However, the Renegades, admittedly, didn’t go as far as they would’ve hoped and are looking forward to trying even hardware to make that dream a reality next year, thanks to the aid of added playing time this winter.
“It helps us build our chemistry with each other and get better as a team in any way that we can to get ready for the season,” Deveney said. “Our communication as a team, at least defensively, is something we made sure to work on this summer and I think we’ll be better because of it.”