NYHS starts basketball team after confusion over coach

After the NYHS girls basketball team had a successful season last year, this year they were close to not having one at all. 

After losing four players to graduation last year and with fewer than 50 students overall attending NYHS, the girls team struggled to get enough players. Girls also complained last year that basketball is too intense, which drives people away from playing. 

NYHS parent Cynthia Gamel is a big supporter of the girls having a team and even came to school with pastries to speak with the girls about why girls basketball is so important. 

“Growing up, I went to NYHS, and they didn’t have girls sports, and I think we have this amazing opportunity to have girls sports,” said Gamel. “I believe it teaches a lot of resilience and strength and organization.” 

According to Gamel, the parents were told that there would not be a basketball team. 

Gamel wanted to let the girls know that the school is changing the expectation of girls basketball and it will be about just getting the girls playing time. “I offered to come to school to change the expectation for the year and to reduce practice and get girls to play,” Gamel said. 

After Gamel came to speak with the girls, six girls wanted to play. 

Once it was official that there would be a girls basketball team, however, there was confusion about who would coach. Team captains Leah Menashe and Rose Clayman said that they thought Nikki Co Nelson, who was previously the coach, would be the coach this year. But for unknown reasons, when the season started she wasn’t the coach. Several people familiar with the matter refused to comment. “I can’t comment on personnel issues,” said Head of School Jason Feld. “I know Nikki is definitely devoted to women’s basketball and women’s sports, and we appreciate her service, and I would anticipate her playing an even more important role in developing our sports program.” 

Instead, coach Ashford Jackson, who is the boys coach, started coaching the girls. Then, on December 14th,  Feld announced Nelson would be the coach. Feld and Gamel both said that they are not speaking on the matter. 

Despite the confusion, Menashe said she wanted a team because it’s an important part of the school’s environment. “I really wanted a team because basketball is really important to me,” she said. “It’s a really important part of our school atmosphere and I remember my siblings always played basketball.” 

This year the girls are 1-4 and recently won their last game against the Puget Sound Adventist (PSAA) Sharks.