It's hard to see a silver lining in a winless season. But Colleen Garvey, the captain of the Haverhill High School girls basketball team, has learned to weigh the success of a squad by more than a score. It's about the little battles, about improving, and keeping a positive attitude.
"It's been frustrating, but we are getting better and better every game," Garvey said before a recent practice. "A lot of the younger girls have been big surprises."
Even though their 0-10 record might seem to indicate otherwise, there are some bright spots, the senior said. Considering that the team only has three seniors and many other players lack experience, they've had some strong showing against top teams in the league. "We've had a couple of games when we were able to stay with some really good teams," she said.
A lot of the Hillies' ability to stay close in such games comes from Garvey's consistent play, although the modest, runway-tall brunette never speaks in terms of individual accomplishments.
However, Hillies coach Larry Snow was happy to list his forward's successes. Garvey has averaged seven points, 10.8 rebounds and three rebounds a game this season.
Garvey's sunny outlook and strong play haven't gone unnoticed by her teammates or by her coach, in his first year at the helm of the Hillies hoopsters. "We're going through a tough time, but Colleen is a great role model for the underclassmen," Snow said. "She's a good basketball player, but she's an even better person. She's a great kid."
Garvey hopes to attend Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, next year, but she still has more to accomplish at Haverhill High. She's looking forward to her final season of track in the spring after her last high school cross country season in the fall.
Garvey started playing basketball in third grade as a student at St. Joseph's School of All Saints Parish. She fell in love with the game in middle school, when her team dominated the league.
"We were kind of a big deal," she said of her St. Joe's juggernaut.
Last year, she was one of three Hillies captains. Being the only captain this year has proved a little more challenging for Garvey.
"It's a lot different, but I'm getting used to it," she said. "We have good communication as a whole and for the most part, we all get along."
At the halfway point in the season, Garvey is looking forward to rematches with teams the Hillies lost to earlier in the winter.
And even though she'll graduate in the spring, Garvey sees a bright future for the Hillies girls basketball team.