This season has a chance to be special. And memorable.
It already has been fun – and all are reasons that Head Coach Lisa Finn said there is a lot to like about Cathedral High School girls basketball in 2021.
“We’re learning and improving each game and that’s helpful,” Finn said.
The Lady Irish, with largely a new team from last season and with some significant additions via transfer, started the season with a 4-4 record – with two of losses coming by three and two points. One of the victories came in convincing fashion over Bishop Chatard, 57-39.
“I love this team,” Finn said. “They’re fun to coach.”
The early-season results reflect the potential of a team Finn has a chance to grow and mature into a contender by season’s end.
“We are just a completely different team than what we were last year, and I think honestly nobody expects much from us – and I’m kind of OK with that at this point,” Finn said. “We’re trying to get them instilled in our culture, because a lot of them are new to Cathedral or inexperienced.
“We’re trying to get them buying into what we’re trying to do.”
The Irish this season are led by a mix of senior leadership, returning experience and youth – and two key transfers who have contributed in significant fashion.
Junior Layla Gold, who led Park Tudor in scoring last season, has averaged 18.2 points and four rebounds per game through six games.
“She’s just added a dimension to our offense that we weren’t going to have,” Finn said. “That made it really nice.”
Senior Gabby Gay, a transfer from Zionsville, has averaged 5.7 points and five rebounds per game – and Finn said she has added a needed basketball IQ and court presence.
“She’s been the wild card,” Finn said. “She’s always in the right place at the right time. That’s something we weren’t counting on having. She has stepped into our starting lineup and made a difference with leadership overall on and off the court.”
The Irish, after losing five seniors from the 2020-2021 team, also returned two seniors this season – versatile Katie Bremer and forward Darryn Ely, a pair of four-year varsity players. Bremer was averaging 13.5 points and five rebounds per game, with Ely averaging 4.7 points and 3.2 rebounds.
Nya Huff, a junior and a six-foot post player, has contributed to what Finn said is a significant presence inside and was averaging 3.0 points and 3.7 rebounds.
“We’re really strong in the post this year, which is nice,” Finn said. “We have some traditional post players.”
Also contributing in a big way are a mix of underclassmen including freshman Abby Beasley (1.2 points, 1.5 rebounds).
“She just steps up the intensity when she comes on the court on defense, so she'll see a lot of minutes for us over the years,” Finn said.
Also expected to contribute are sophomores Catherine Cline (4.5 points, 1.8 rebounds), Taylor Lewis (3.3 points, 3.3 rebounds) and Eliza Langfeldt.
“They all saw some random varsity dresses last year in minutes, but they're all eager to learn and they are all coachable,” Finn said. “A lot of them are soccer players, which kind of translates over to the basketball court.
“They really haven’t played together, so really just the experience of playing together is going to help over time. I don’t think they know how special they can be. Some of it is us as coaches trying to get them to buy in and understand how good they really could be. They’ll get glimpses along the way.”
Finn said while the Irish are a talented team with potential, they also as of early December had many areas to improve.
“We’ve got to get better defensively,” she said. “We have a lot of girls who get away with their athleticism. Our defense is going to be what makes us or breaks us down the line.”
Finn said the talent and potential is there for such improvements to come – and for the ’20-’21 Irish to turn in one of the program’s strongest seasons in recent memory.
“The best thing is our kids get along,” Finn said. “They’re coachable and they want the best for each other, and that’s sometimes have the battle. We’ve got some pretty good team chemistry. That obviously will be beneficial down the line.
“They aren’t experienced enough to know it yet, but I definitely see something in them that could be pretty special down the line. It’s going to be fun.”