Sophomore Maddie Dew was handed the starting point guard's job for the Downingtown West girls' basketball team this season.
Lindsay Galcynski has been there, and she can relate.
Galcynski, a senior, remembers struggling with aspects of her game as a younger player on junior varsity, then joining the starting lineup on varsity. She had to fit in with four players who were accustomed to playing with one another. Galcynski learned a lot from that experience and is using it to help her teammates.
"As a captain and a senior, I try to help during practice," Galcynski said. "I've been through that. A couple of freshmen are struggling with what I struggled with freshman year. I'm trying to keep everyone motivated."
Dew, a JV player for most of her freshman year, was thrust into the Whippets lineup near the end of last season, just as her team was making a playoff run. Now Dew is taking over the role that Brittany Sicinski, now playing for West Chester University, flourished in last season.
"It gives me more confidence knowing that I have such strong teammates," Dew said. "I know I can count on them. "
Senior Kayla Feairheller has helped to guide Dew.
According to coach Dave Johnson, Feairheller has stepped up as a leader this season, focusing on inspiring confidence in her teammates. She gained experience last year as the Whippets made a run in the district tournament and reached the second round of the Class AAAA state playoffs.
"Last year I learned how to be part of a good team and how to experience success, but also the losses that came with it were tough because they all meant so much," Feairheller said. "I learned how to handle the pressure and how to play the tough teams."
Feairheller leads West in scoring at 14.5 points a game. Galcynski averages 13 points a game and Dew averages 12.
The Whippets (5-4) are 2-0 in Ches-Mont League play.
Ridpath's 200th. Frank Ridpath picked up his 200th win at Sun Valley last week when the Vanguards beat Penncrest, 51-42, at the Interboro tournament. Previously the boys' coach at Penn Wood, Ridpath has been at Sun Valley for 13 years.
"It makes me feel good for the kids because it means that I've had a lot of good players over the years," Ridpath said. "A lot of players have taken part in this. It is more of a compliment to the kids at Sun Valley."
The Vanguards are 8-0 (2-0 Del-Val League) this season.