‘Special team’ perched atop D-I standings

BHS girls basketball team is 15-1 in the division

By Josh Bickford
Posted 2/14/24

It is a special team. That is how Coach Stephen Lenz describes this year’s Barrington High School girls basketball team, which currently stands in first place in Division I.  

Lenz, …

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‘Special team’ perched atop D-I standings

BHS girls basketball team is 15-1 in the division


It is a special team. That is how Coach Stephen Lenz describes this year’s Barrington High School girls basketball team, which currently stands in first place in Division I. 

Lenz, who is in his 26th season, said the Eagles started off slow this year. In fact, the team finished the month of December with five losses. 

“We were 2-5, but we knew we were a good basketball team,” he said. 

The Eagles challenged themselves with a number of tough non-league out-of-state games at the start of the season. They tipped off against a talent New London, Conn. team and lost by five points. The Eagles also lost to three of the toughest teams in New Hampshire during a tournament in the Granite State. 

Lenz said his team was in danger of losing its first game in January as they trailed Ponaganset by 12 points. 

“That Ponaganset game, we challenged ourselves,” Lenz said. “We were struggling offensively as a team, and we were letting that control the defensive end of the floor.”

Lenz said he pressed his team to take their defensive effort to a new level, and that is just what they did. Barrington shut down the Chieftains for the remainder of the game and powered to a 57-54 victory. The Eagles’ offense hit its stride, as the team showed its ability to get up and down the floor in a hurry. 

“We’re going to press and we’re going to run,” Lenz said. “I haven’t had a team this fast in years.”

Lenz said his team presents match-up challenges during a fast-paced game.  

“We’ve become pretty much a position-less team,” Lenz said. “Anyone can cover anybody. Anyone can shoot and cover the ball. That’s what we have in terms of our personnel.”

He said the Eagles’ center is junior Isys Dunphy, but she is not your typical “big.” Dunphy is fast and athletic and has ball-handling skills that could allow her to play the point guard position, Lenz said. 

The Eagles also present a balanced attack, the coach said. Barrington has three players averaging double-figures in scoring and a fourth who’s adding between seven and eight points per game. Maddie Gill is averaging 14 points per game, while Janaya Prince Baquero and Dunphy are each averaging 13 per game. Riley Graveline is averaging more than seven each game. 

And the Eagles are balanced rebounding team too, said Lenz. Dunphy leads the team in rebounding, followed by Graveline and Gill. 

“We’re just really trying to get out and run. We don’t want to get in a half-court game with the bigs,” Lenz said. 

Following the win over Ponaganset, the Eagles reeled off victories against Portsmouth, Scituate, Westerly, South Kingstown, LaSalle, East Providence, Juanita Sanchez, Cranston West, St. Raphael’s Academy, Rogers and Classical. Barrington, the top team in Division I-A, also defeated North Kingstown, the top team in Division I-B, in a double overtime thriller. 

Lenz warns that the Eagles will face two of their toughest tests in the final two games of the season. Barrington will host 13-4 Ponaganset on Wednesday night, Feb. 14, and then cap the regular season with a game at 13-3 Bay View on Friday night, Feb. 16.

“Our number one goal is just getting better,” Lenz said. “We want to play as a team and share the ball. And we’ve been doing that this season.

“I have great kids. They work really hard in practice. And they love each other.”

Lenz said the Eagles’ roster is loaded with hard-working players who are ready to contribute no matter what the situation is like on the court. Lenz said Liv Morrissette recently returned after an early-season injury, and Lauren Kilpatrick provides a key spark off the bench. 

“She’s our sixth man,” Lenz said. 

The coach also praised the play of Ellie Donato, Kim Beers, Faith Van Ness, Julia Daniello and others.”

“I love coaching this team… My kids this year are so coachable. It’s a special team.”

2024 by East Bay Media Group

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.