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A New Start for Baystate/Paulo Freire Girl’s Basketball

by Kevin McCaskill Jr.

12/7/22 * 12:00 PM

(SOUTH END, SPRINGFIELD) - The Baystate Academy/Paulo Freire (BA/PF) Girl’s Basketball team is ready to start the 2022-2023 regular season. Last season, BA/PF went 2-14. They play in the PVIAC Tri-County South League.

This season, BA/PF is under new leadership. The Varsity Head Coach (HC) is Jasmine Lovejoy; Will Katzi is the Junior Varsity HC and the Varsity Assistant Coach (AC).

HC Lovejoy is a native of Springfield, MA. She graduated from Central HS, where she had a distinguished basketball career that included 2 Western Mass Championships and 1 State Championship. After HS, she went to Northeast Community College in Nebraska. She transferred to Missouri Southern State University for the last 2 years of her college career. After college, she played professional basketball in Australia for 4 years. Last season, she was a coach on the Central girl’s team that won the State Championship @ UMass-Lowell.

In her first season, Lovejoy “is expecting to build the culture”. “I want the girls to come in and have fun. I want them to want to be better than when they came in”.

Varsity AC Will Katzi told me he is mainly looking for the right type of “effort” this season. He believes the “athleticism” they have “should keep them competitive”.

For the last 6 years, Katzi worked with the Baystate Academy Boy’s team. He is “excited” for the opportunity to have his own team and he plans to use the knowledge he has gotten over the last 6 years in his new role.

The leader amongst the players is Jayshalynn Oquendo. She didn’t play last season, so she is ready “to do whatever…to make the team win”. She is a scorer and can play good defense. Oquendo will be integral in the success of BA/PF this season.

The PVIAC Tri-County South has six teams: BA/PF, Commerce, Pioneer Valley Christian, Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School, Smith Vocational and Westfield Technical. The BA/PF Girl’s will have to make two trips to Hampshire County to play Smith Voc and PVCICS. The other teams are in Hampden County.

Now that the BA/PF Girl’s Basketball program has new leadership and their best player back, they are poised to have a better season and potentially make the playoffs.


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