A commanding season comes to a close for Dartmouth girls basketball

Mar 6, 2024

It was a historic season for Dartmouth girls basketball: They began with a 12-0 undefeated run, defeated reigning rival Bridgewater-Raynham twice and won the Southeast Conference for the first time since its inception. And last week, they completed their season-long goal of reaching the Sweet 16 in the state playoff tournament. 

But that season came to an end Tuesday, March 5, after a nail-biter against Whitman-Hanson Regional High School ended in a narrow defeat, 40-38. 

“I don’t think anyone expected us to make it as far as we did,” said junior Kat Cheesebro. “At the end, we just kind of crumbled a little.”

The Indians confidently led most of the game by around a 10-point margin, but in the second half, the Panthers chipped away at the lead, mostly due to a series of clutch 3-pointers from Freshman Maliah Pierre. 

Dartmouth didn’t lose their lead until the final seconds of the game, when Whitman-Hanson tied it all up and bought themselves an overtime period. 

Both teams fought until the end, but a couple of costly turnovers allowed Whitman-Hanson to put up some last-minute points. 

After the game, coach Brian Jalbert said he felt “a lot of guilt” for not calling a timeout in the team’s final possession of the game. 

“I gotta do better,” he said. “They played so hard.”

While it was hard to reflect on the season as a whole following such a close loss, Jalbert said “there was a lot to be proud of” throughout the year.

At the beginning of the season, Jalbert said he sees two years of basketball when he looks at the current team, as nearly all of their players have another year ahead of them. But the departure of senior Hailey Martins will be tough to absorb: “She’ll be a huge loss,” he said.

Cheesebro echoed that sentiment, and said Martins fills many different roles in the current lineup, which will be hard to replace. Martins is a strong post player and provides some much-needed height to the team. 

Jalbert said he hasn’t thought much at all about the offseason or the next season, but he knows that players like Cheesebro will be working toward it right away. 

“I’m happy for what’s to come next year,” Cheesebro said.