The 2012-13 season was a test of endurance for the T.C. Williams girls’ basketball team.
The Titans started the season with nine players on their roster and entered some games with just six athletes. Along with a lack of depth, T.C. wasn’t a particularly tall team. One of its tallest players, 5-foot-11 senior Christian Roberts, was listed as a guard.
While it wasn’t easy, the Titans, led by a small core group of athletes, beat three-time defending Patriot District champion West Springfield twice during the regular season and took home T.C. Williams’ first district title since 2009.
This season, all but two players return from that district-championship team and the Titans figure to have a full 12-player roster, which should help sustain the team’s level of play as T.C. Williams works its way into the postseason.
“That’s going to make a lot of difference,” head coach Kesha Walton said about the Titans’ depth. “We’re able to do more things when we have subs. We don’t have to worry about foul trouble as much [and] we’re able to get after it more.”
T.C. Williams’ top two returning offensive players are junior guard Rejoice Spivey (5 feet 9) and senior sharpshooter Angie Schedler (5-9). Walton said she’s looking for leadership from the duo.
“You’ve got to talk more,” Spivey said about transitioning into a leadership role, “and lead by example and learn how to talk to different teammates, because different teammates don’t always take it good when you’re yelling at them.”
“That’s going to make a lot of difference. We’re able to do more things when we have subs. We don’t have to worry about foul trouble as much [and] we’re able to get after it more.”
--- T.C. Williams head coach Kesha Walton
Schedler said she’s looking forward to the impact of the Titans’ increased depth.
“I like having players that I can depend on and I can depend on getting a break and then going right back in the game,” Schedler said. “Last year, I got a lot of charley horses from running so much.”
Junior forward Grace Peterson (6-0) will be relied upon for rebounding. Junior guard Megan Laychak (5-4) is a solid defensive player.
Walton said senior guard Tykera Carter (5-5), a transfer from Riverdale Baptist, will also be a key contributor for the Titans.
Carter said she doesn’t feel like an outsider with something to prove to her new team — other than her desire to win.
“I feel like I definitely just have to work within the team,” she said. “I don’t feel like I have to prove myself except for to myself and to show my teammates that I’m all about winning and trying to make it to states and win a ring.”
Seniors Taylor Burns (6-0) and Angelica Coleman (5-9), junior Nya Palacio (5-3), sophomores Josephine Brocato (5-10), Ajuanae Nelson (5-4) and Claire Vermillion (5-9) and freshman Keyana Roberts (5-11) are also on the team.
T.C. Williams won its season opener against Bishop Ireton, 63-42 on Tuesday. The Titans have a tough stretch of games approaching, starting with a game against St. Joseph's (W.Va.) at Paul VI Catholic High School at 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 6.
On Saturday, T.C. will travel to Wakefield and play in the first game of a girls’ and boys’ doubleheader, starting at 5:30 p.m. The Titans will travel to face West Springfield on Dec. 13 before hosting Edison, last year’s Northern Region champion, on Dec. 14.
Spivey said she expects the Titans to have a target on their backs after winning last season’s Patriot District title.
“It’s motivation,” she said. “We’ve just got to come out harder than they do and prove ourselves.”
*Correction: T.C. Williams' next game is against St. Joseph's (W.Va.) at Paul VI Catholic High School.