Winter Athletics Recap

Varsity Boys’ Basketball
Head Coach Kevin Snider and Assistant Coach Paul Samano
2017–18 was a very good season for Varsity Boys’ Basketball. Our record does not reflect the strength of the team, but we were able to recognize the growth and maturity of each of the athletes on the team. We felt the team improved both on and off the court. They worked very well together and the teamwork provided the skills that will certainly aid in their transition as they progress through high school and on to their collegiate endeavors. The underclassmen truly learned from the upperclassmen what it really takes to run a successful team and program, and I feel the underclassmen will help to grow the program as one of the top in the Independent School League (ISL) in the coming years.
Varsity Girls’ Basketball
Head Coach Alix King and Assistant Coach Christian Bielizna
This season the Girls Varsity Basketball team started off strong with a win against Senn. Throughout the season the girls really improved their fundamental skills with practice and started to learn to incorporate them into the game. We went from being a slow pace team to running the floor and utilizing our fast break opportunities. Our defense from day one to our final days showed much improvement and the team really stepped up in tight situations. The team had some struggles throughout the season, but in the end pulled together and really worked well as a unit. The Varsity team finished the season with a record of 9-14. They are a young team and have great potential to grow with their hard work and commitment. I look forward to future seasons and seeing them grow as a team.

JV (Blue) Boys’ Basketball
Head Coach Alan Ferguson and Assistant Coach Jarrick McGee
The 2017–18 JV Boys Basketball season was a tremendous success and by far my most rewarding season to date. We started off the season well with a victory over Holy Trinity. I felt I really grew with the kids I had this year, as a coach but more importantly as a role model and figure they looked up to. With Jarrick doing an amazing job of helping me we got the team locked in from the start. We entered the ISL JV tournament as the 5th seed. With three games in a span of about four to five hours we made it to the championship game and lost by two points at the end. Also beating our rival Latin along the way which we had never beat in my three years here. My win total this season was more than it was in my previous two seasons combined which made it an even bigger pleasure to coach these kids. Being such a long season and a lot of demands on the kids we did our best to keep them fresh and on the right track.
I feel the program is absolutely headed in the right direction. I will have a new crop of freshmen next year with other kids in the lower grades in the pipeline as well which should set us up nicely for the future. I can't thank the coaches and Parker athletic department enough for the support I got. Looking forward to more successful seasons in the years to come.

JV (White) Boys’ Basketball
Head Coach Jarrick McGee and Assistant Coach Alan Ferguson
The 2017-18 JV White Boys Basketball team had an outstanding season. The introduction to Blue/White teams during this basketball season allowed the boys to play extra games while gaining valuable time on the court. They finished the season with an 8-5 record that included three losses by a total of one point and two points twice. They did however sweep Latin this season, possessed winning streaks of two+ games three times and finished ISL League games with a 5-3 record. JV White was competitive in every game this season and it started with their great chemistry off the court. Parker’s Basketball program is trending in the right direction and I’m excited to continue watching their progression.
JV Girls’ Basketball
Head Coach Flynn Okner and Assistant Coach Labrenthia Murdock-Pearson
The Junior Varsity Girls Basketball team had a great season. As new coaches, we had a wonderful time getting to know the student athletes, and for some of them, introducing them to the sport of basketball. We focused on fundamentals, plays, sportsmanship, and stressed the importance of communication and teamwork. We watched the student athlete’s skills improve over the season, and are extremely proud of all their hard work. We challenged the girls to think outside the box, to become comfortable with the ball and the court, and to trust their instincts. We had a few great wins, and some tough losses, but we kept our heads up. We can’t wait to see what is in store for next year!
8th Grade Boys’ Basketball
Head Coach Clark Daggett and Assistant Coach Noah Wolff
The 8th grade boys basketball team completed a successful season characterized by significant ups and downs so often associated with middle school athletics. Through two thirds of the season the team made good progress with their skills, their effort during practice and games, and their commitment to play together as a team. Toward the end of the season, perhaps due to injuries and absences, the team seemed somewhat less focused and lost a few games we had a very good opportunity to win.
Overall, this year's 8th grade Boys’ basketball team had a positive collective experience and improved significantly in key areas of the game. There were several players new to basketball, and they made great strides in their understanding of the game and their ability to make positive contributions on the court. The more skilled and experienced players pulled together on several occasions to mount impressive comebacks in games that seemed out of reach. With a record of 8 wins and 10 losses, it's clear that there was some very solid basketball played throughout the season which will serve the Upper School basketball program well in the years to come.
8th Grade Girls’ Basketball
Head Coach Marisela Palma and Assistant Coach Mary Hobbs
This season the 8th grade girls’ basketball team placed a heavy emphasis on team goals. The team set many goals before the season and reached them by the end. Most importantly, they met their goal to become a team, work together, and learn to respect and trust each other. As coaches, we focused on creating a good environment for the girls. Even though we had a young team, and only a few girls had basketball experience, they improved over the course of the season. We spent a lot of time introducing fundamentals such as, shooting, passing, and dribbling. We also focused on team defensive and offensive concepts, to improve their game time skills. Following the holiday break the girls were continuing to improve while showing passion for the game. While the team came up short in a few games, we continued to learn, ending our season with a 7-10 record. Our games were exciting to watch. We had five games that were incredibly close and a few that ended with a buzzer beater. Overall, the 8th grade girls’ basketball season was a success!
7th Grade Boys’ Basketball
Head Coach Ross Houston and Assistant Coach Michael Neff
The 7th grade Boys’ Basketball team saw a tremendous amount of success this season. The squad got the season off on an exciting note with a dramatic come-from-behind OT victory, and continued its winning ways to start the season 8-0. In the end, we finished with a 13-4 record, including big wins against Latin and U-High, a 16-point comeback victory versus St. John Berchmans, and a thrilling double overtime triumph over The British School's 8th Grade team, a game in which we trailed by as many as 21 points.
But it was more than just the success in the win column that made this group of 20 student-athletes special. It was the way that they responded to adversity, supported each other in success and defeat, displayed amazing sportsmanship, and demonstrated exceptional teamwork that took this team to the next level. Every player contributed in one-way-or-another to help build one of the most cohesive units we have ever had the privilege of coaching, and we are sure the boys will continue to accomplish great things in the future. 
7th Grade Girls’ Basketball
Head Coach Phenice Williams and Assistant Coach Kendall Okner
The 7th grade girls’ basketball team was small, however they proved to be “strong and mighty.” The girls came ready to play smart and aggressive, which was our team’s theme for the season. Each girl grew in skill throughout season, securing many great wins. Both defensively and offensively, they epitomized the art of teamwork on and off the court. Perseverance was on full display in our last game against Baker Demonstration. The game was full of high energy and strong defense from our opposing team. The girls took to heart our team’s motto for the season “play smart, play aggressive” coming out on top in overtime with a 19-13 win. I greatly enjoyed coaching and having fun with this group of girls. I deeply admired their dedication to the sport of basketball, their eagerness to learn and grow.
6th Grade Girls’ Basketball
Head Coach Jen Marshall and Assistant Coach Jake Rosenbluth
The 6th grade Girls’ basketball team was full of eager young athletes interested in gaining new experience with the sport. There was a broad range of ability amongst the players, but for most of the girls this was their first experience playing the game. The team's mission was to always play at their peak performance level, and the athletes took that message to heart in every practice and game situation. The coaches witnessed at every game how each athlete maintained a positive outlook regardless of the outcome. They were always eager to take what they had experienced back into practice to continue developing their skills. The team found an extraordinary balance between focus on individual skills and teamwork. Because of this and the team's willingness to adapt, our season was a successful one.
6th Grade Boys’ Basketball
Head Coach Patrick Stanton and Assistant Coach Dylan Pender
The 6th grade Boys’ season was one of growth and adaptation. A few unforeseen challenges came into play as the season progressed, but it was impressive to watch the boys continue to overcome these challenges. The team had a nice balance of experienced basketball players and student athletes that were new to the game. The highlight of the season was when the team adapted to a last-minute change in schedule and were able to power our way past Chicago City Day 43-33 on their home court. As a team we faced every challenge as a unit. Each student athlete appeared in both halves of every game while 16 of the 18 boys contributed on the score sheet throughout the season. In our last game of the season we had a 15-point comeback vs. Latin that was fueled by turnovers created by the two student athletes that did not score this season. Overall the team stuck together as a unit to overcome challenges both on and off the court.
Francis W. Parker School educates students to think and act with empathy, courage and clarity as responsible citizens and leaders in a diverse democratic society and global community.