Although Old Rochester Regional girls basketball’s regular-season record may indicate this season was an easy one for the Bulldogs, that was far from the case. The Bulldogs turned their season-opening three-game winning streak into an undefeated 7-0 regular season after they were forced to put things on pause and quarantine for seven days, missing two games in the process.
“I’ve looked forward to having a senior year and being a captain and help lead the team, but it kind of stinks being a short year,” senior captain Meg Horan said. “I’m so happy to be able to play and at least have a senior season, but it’s definitely bittersweet when it’s coming to an end so quickly.”
While ORR head coach Rick Regan played a large part in keeping his players together throughout the trying stretch, Horan also played a role. Even before the stoppage in play, the lone senior in the girls basketball program helped lay the foundation for the team as a group that could get through anything.
“She does a great job of continuing to be positive, continuing to keep communication with the players on the team, continuing to set the right example by being at practice and listening and just doing things the right way,” Regan said. “Because she sets the example not only with her voice and positivity with her teammates but also by doing things the right way, she keeps everybody on track so that as a team we stay on track. I think that’s really important.”
Horan wasn’t the ideal senior captain because that’s what Regan needed her to be. Leadership came naturally, and someone who displays the leadership that Horan has deserves a better finish than the pandemic has offered her and every other member of ORR’s class of 2021. But instead of letting the situation consume her and her team, Horan made the best of the hand she was dealt. In doing so, she also provided an example for eight junior-class teammates for whom she has high expectations heading toward next season.
“I’m really excited for them next year. Even though I won’t be there, the team has a really strong roster, especially the eight juniors on the team. I’m really excited to see how far they go. Hopefully, they get to the state tournament — if we have that.”
Horan’s investment in her younger teammates is something that’s been apparent to Regan from Day One.
“She means it. As I mentioned on Senior Night, one of the first emails I received from her when we started communication when I was hired was the fact that she had learned from people in the past like (ORR graduate) Mary Butler, who she was tapped in with, and how she wanted to make sure that the underclassmen had a good experience. She wanted to be the leader for them,” Regan said. “When she says she cares about her teammates, she means it. She’s not just trying to say something, and she performs it through her actions every day.”
In the process, Horan also averaged 11 points and just over nine rebounds per night. She did it all in a regular season that, although not ideal in more than one way, ORR girls basketball made the most out of from start to finish.
By Nick Friar