Andover Girls Basketball Co-Captain Hannah McGrath ’20 has been passionate about basketball ever since she started playing in elementary school. Coached by her father, McGrath brings her experience playing at a competitive club level to Andover.
McGrath said, “My dad was my coach for four years and while I was playing club it was very high intensity, high pace so I was always pushed to my limits…I think it has definitely translated here at Andover in the sense that I try to push the team.”
According to McGrath, the Andover team dynamic is a key component to her love and continuation of the sport.
“I love having a team behind me all the time and being able to have team dinners. Just being with my teammates is always a great time. Also with the competition aspect of the sport, knowing there is something to fight for and accomplish, really builds our sense of community because we all have the same goal,” said McGrath.
According to McGrath, she has worked hard to become the best possible leader and mentor, especially for her younger teammates.
“It has definitely been a learning experience in that most years we have new people, but especially this year. We have five new [Juniors] on the team, so it has really been a building year for us. I’ve had to learn how to be the Captain and calm people down in stressful situations or when people aren’t in the mood to work hard because of school, just getting them to want to train and be on the court at that time,” said McGrath.
According to Head Coach Liz Monroe and teammate Niya Harris ’21, McGrath brings intensity and high energy to the court both in practice and games.
“Hannah brings intensity and motivation to the team. She is an incredible leader and is a go-getter. During games she is always the one diving for the ball on the ground or getting steals. At the same time she is also someone who can calm us down if we are getting too excited and she can bring us back to the right mindset if we are in our heads,” wrote Monroe in an email to The Phillipian.
Harris added, “Hannah brings an amazing level of intensity and focus when she plays the game. She loves the game of basketball, and that passion comes through every day. She expects a lot from herself and her teammates and is constantly pushing everyone around her to be better. The energy she brings to her play on both sides of the ball drives the rest of the team forward.”
According to Co-Captain Claire Brady ’20 and teammate Alanna Olsen ’23, McGrath is a strong all-around player and can make an impact on both ends of the floor.
“She is a really good ball handler and also plays super strong on-ball defense. It’s so noticeable when she’s in the game or not in the game. She’s been struggling with an ankle injury for the past two weeks so she’s been in and out but everybody can feel her energy all the time, whether she’s on the court or on the bench, hyping people up. Creating plays is what she does really well on offense,” said Brady.
Olsen added, “Hannah’s defense is really strong. When she plays on defense I personally make sure to pay attention and watch her so that I can learn from her. She is really aggressive and always will stay with her defender. She’s also very vocal when on defense.”
McGrath recognizes the importance of continuing to move forward in such a fast-paced game, while also pushing her teammates to stay optimistic.
“I try to tell my teammates that it is okay to mess up and if you miss one shot, you need to move on and go to the next play. I know a lot of us are very hard on ourselves on and off the court and so telling them ‘It is okay you missed a shot’ or, ‘It is okay you threw the ball away.’ Everyone does it and they just need to keep their head up and work hard,” said McGrath.
Looking ahead into the rest of the season, McGrath hopes the team can grow together and play well into the playoffs.
McGrath said, “I’m hoping that we do well and make the playoffs and that we can compete well in the [final] tournament. We just played the best team and only lost by six points so even though we are a young team, we have a lot of potential and a lot to prove which I really think we can do.”