Building a high school program is not easy. It’s even harder when you have little tradition. Finding players to make a comittment to a program is not easy and in some cases impossible. It’s takes time to build struggling programs. First you have to find a way to become competitive. Then you have to win a few games and have a few kids develop….BARNAGET HIGH SCHOOL and there hard working coach Tammy Nicolini are having a year to remember.
Four years ago BARNAGET won 5 games and continued a legacy of failure that has hunted the program. A program that not many people have taken very serious. BARNAGET was your homecoming game. It was your senior night game. There was very little respect for the team, coaches and players. That was until a fiery Coach showed up by the name Tammy Nicolini. She took a job that was not exactly in demand and right now, she just may be the leading candidate for COACH OF THE YEAR.BARNAGET right now has school record 13 wins and clearly are not done.
Tammy Nicolini is passionate about teaching. She was the Teacher of the Year in 2012. She brings that same passion for teaching to the basketball court. She loves being on the sidelines and is ultra competitive. When she walked into BARNAGET, she found a program that had given up. Players dreaming of playing in college was not a thought. Players training out of season were far and few inbetween. Players challenging themselves were had to find. BARNAGET was using basketball as a recreational sport. Winning or losing didn’t seem very important and winning had left the gym long ago….That is until NOW.
You must learn to walk before you can run. BARNAGET girls are fast learners under Tammy Nicolini, because whether they know it or not their tradition is beginning now. Now they are a program that has created a buzz, a program where kids now dream. It’s now a program where kids can fulfill dreams of playing at the next level. It’s now a place where kids can look forward to playing in the Shore Conference Tournament. It’s now a program where kids now dream of playing in the State Tournament. It’s also a place now, we’re kids are not afraid to challenge themselves. Tammy Nicolini has changed the culture at BARNAGET. She has in short 4 years showed a school, how not only to win, but also what it takes
.Ashley Toner, has seen the losing and disappoint, which comes from lack of sucess. But she has been on the ground floor of BARNAGET’S record breaking season. She is a talented combo guard with real quickness and a knack for scoring. She is having a banner senior year, averaging career 10.3 points, 4.0 assist and 2.8 rebounds. Toner who is also a scoccer player, may have been the player, who got the ball rolling for Tammy Nicolini’s program. She played on the AAU circuit and is a highly competitive player. She will play basketball at Emerson College next. She is proving to every little girl you can make your dreams come true at BARNAGET, if you just work hard. Few have worked as hard as Toner in helping build a down and out program. She more than any other player has done more for BARNAGET basketball than any other player in the schools history. She was never recognized for her accomplishments. That is now in the past, because with the sucess of BARNAGET, we are now appreciating her more. It was she that showed everyone good things come in time. Thanks to Ashley Toner kids at BARNAGET now know they can play at the next level.
Playing in the Shore Conference has never been a serious thought by the BARNAGET supporters. That honor has been reserved for the teams with successful seasons. The SCTis a prestigious event, because the Shore is the best Conference in the country. This year BARNAGET will do the impossible and play in the SCT, not as a unseeded throw in. But rather as a seeded team and have a home game.. Nobody could have predicted this when Tammy Nicolini took over 4 years ago. It’s seems surreal just talking about BARNAGET being in the SCT. But what’s even more stranger is that BARNAGET could win a few games in the tournament. The also will play in the State Tournament this year. On these accomplishments alone, TAMMY NICOLINI has to be a leading Candidate for COACH OF THE YEAR.
Every coach needs a program changing player, at some point there must be a player that defines a growing program. That player must be unlike any other player the program has seen. Tammy Nicolini received this gift two years ago. Jr. Shannon McCoy might be the best secret in SHORE HISTORY. This season she is averaging 16 points and over 7 rebounds a game. She has been one of the best players in the Shore. But her impact on BARNAGET goes way beyond the court. Shannon may be the first player in BARNAGET history to take on the challenge of getting outside her comfort zone. Ever see a kid walk into a gym, that is treated like a ghost? It’s very hard on a parent and even harder on a kid. When a player walks into a gym loaded with talent they often don’t get the attention or respect. This leads to bruised egos and self esteem issues. Many times the player feels rejected or feels others don’t respect there talents. When this happens, many times the kid runs into the arms of there comfort zone. They play and train with kids on there level or sometimes less talented. These kids are happy and in many cases very successful. But what they don’t do is maximize there talent. Shannon McCoy wanted no part of such atmosphere. Shannon McCoy has set an example for every young player in the BARNAGET school system. She is proving BARNAGET players can play with the best. She is showing what happens when you become ultra competitive and that’s exactly what Shannon has brought to the court this year. Exactly what Tammy Nicolini more than anything has built on team on….being COMPETITIVE.
While Toner and McCoy may be the stars, but they have been surrounded by teammates playing the perfect roles.
Jr. Lexi Kirk can shoot the three.
Sr. Kate Siciliano is a strong defender.
Sr. Roxy Urso power house on the boards.
Jr. Ginalee Erskine is dangerous on the offensive boards.
So. Sydney Boyer has been a big contributor off the bench with her aggressive play.
Jr. Maddie Scott if she gets hot off the bench has a dangerous three ball.
Jr. Lexi Furrule is consistent off the bench, playing the role of defensive stopper.
Jr. Mady Forsberg gives some quality minutes. Its a true team effort.
Tammy Nicolini has taken just 4 years to break the school wins record. This year they just may set a standard that could be hard to match for years. The year before she arrived they won 5 games. She has watched her teams improve each year..she won 6 games her first year…7 her 2nd year…10 in her 3rd YEAR and NOW THIS. Tammy Nicolini has done one of the best rebuilding jobs in Shore history. She did so by out working everyone. She got her young kids in the gym training. She encouraged then to play in the off season. She got involded in local AAU. She made real time sacrifices. Now she and her kids are getting the payoff. This story his not finished by a long shot. But even if ended right now….BARGANET basketball has never seen anything like this. BARNAGET is on a five game winning streak right now…..The same amount of games BARNAGET won the year before Tammy “terrific” Nicolini arrived at BARNAGET…..That’s called a REAL CHANGE OF CULTURE.