Building a basketball program from scratch is pretty tough. It’s even harder when your high school only has 36 kids.
“At first, it was kind of humorous, our level of basketball,” says junior forward Jerry Marchand.
But for the first time, Chesterton Academy has varsity basketball teams. Four years ago the school started fielding teams at the lower levels, and now over half the school makes up the inaugural varsity basketball class.
“Even though some of us haven’t played before, it’s like, oh, it’ll be fun,” says senior Chloe Pouthier.
A majority of the players on both teams picked up a basketball for the first time when Chesterton started basketball at the modified and JV levels. When the boys program started, only two players had any basketball experience.
“Some of these girls have only been playing for three or four years,” says girls basketball head coach Mike Reggio. “It’s a challenge but it’s going good so far.”
The gym at Chesterton is too small to host home games, so the school has to play all of their games on the road at places such as RIT and C.G. Finney. Finney’s Atheltic Director is Joe Marchand, the brother of Chesterton’s Athletic Director John Marchand. John says that Joe has been a valuable resource in helping him get the Chargers program off the ground.
One of the perks of starting something new; every accomplishment is a first. How many other players can say they got their school’s first-ever win?
“That was definitely one for the books. We were all super excited,” says Pouthier. “We were definitely on the edge of our seats, but we put it all together and we pulled through. We did really well, I’m really proud of us.”
The Chargers players now have a more complete high school experience by getting to compete against local teams and cheer on their classmates. Both teams say that they support their counterparts whenever they can.
They’re also getting an education only found outside the classroom.
“With losing comes lessons and builds character off that and then we turn the direction and now we’re back on the winning side,” says boys basketball head coach Dan Finucane.
While both teams are thrilled to be just playing at the varsity level this season, the boys have even more reason to be excited. They’re 7-4 and currently on a four-game winning streak.
“I think we might be able to get a few more and hopefully that’ll translate into mid-February and hopefully into March,” says Marchand.
Right now the boys would be the 6th seed in sectionals, an underdog for sure, but hey they’ve never lost a playoff game before.