Current Athlete Of The Week: Maclaine Willett

Maclaine Willett

It is hard to find a moment on the basketball court where Maclaine Willett, a senior captain on the girls basketball team, isn’t smiling. Regardless of the outcome in games, she always tries to look at the positives and take everything into perspective. She is enjoying plenty of personal success, averaging over 10 points per game this season for the Whalers and continues to be the player many of her teammates look up to. She is the Current Athlete of the Week.

“Personally I feel like I have improved my game in terms of being more confident,” Willett said. “I am shooting the ball more. I was always so tentative my freshman year and always had (head coach) Raf Osona telling me to shoot more and to believe in myself. I also worked a lot more on being versatile. I was never a big paint presence or rebounding presence but I have worked on that a lot and improved in that area.”

Willett and the Whalers began their season with three consecutive wins, but find themselves in the midst of a long, grueling losing streak. Willett said while no one, including herself, wants to lose games, she is trying to help her teammates stay upbeat and keep this season in perspective.

“I try to tell my teammates not to dwell on what the scoreboard says,” she said. “Even just looking back to last year, we have grown so much more. We had one win last year and didn’t even get it until the end of the season. We have grown so much as a team and I tell them regardless of the outcome of some of these games let’s just have fun with it because it is the last year for a lot of us on this team. No matter how it ends, let’s just make sure we have fun with this thing.”

Willett has been playing basketball since first grade. She initially told her parents that she didn’t want to play sports and that she hated them before ever stepping foot on a field or court. But her Mom, Christa, convinced her to give basketball a try.

“Thankfully my Mom forced me into sports and told me I had to try them,” Willett said. “So I played basketball in first grade at the Boys & Girls Club and I have loved it ever since.”

Willett said it was during her fifth and sixth grade years when her love for basketball went to another level.

“That was when we got to play off-island schools for the first time,” she said. “It was still competitive playing each other on the island, but it just isn’t the same as playing other schools.”

Willett is a three-sport athlete. When she isn’t on the basketball court, she was in net for the Whaler field hockey team in the fall and will be on the mound for the Whaler softball team in the spring, where she is also one of the Whaler’s best hitters.

But which sport is her favorite?

“It is so hard because I feel like during the season of each I always say it is that one, but I would probably have to admit it is basketball,” Willett said. “Being part of this team in high school has been amazing. I am so glad I have had the opportunity to play with the people I have played with. My freshman year I had great captains like Paige Albertson and then I just loved being able to grow with my friends who I had been playing with my whole life.”

Willett said two people who she views as role models are assistant coach Delroy Lawrence from a basketball perspective and her father, Mark, from a personal and all-around life perspective.

“One role model would definitely be Delroy just because of his work ethic, his drive, and how he just constantly works on himself to get himself better while also working to help out those around him,” she said. “He is just awesome. Delroy actually helped coach us when we were on our fifth and sixth grade travel teams. He would travel with us when we went on tournaments and stuff when we were tiny and crazy. So he has seen us grow which is very cool.”

“Then I would probably say personally my Dad. Him and I are really close. He always brings light to whatever room he goes into and that is what I always try to be. So I would say definitely him. When we were dealing with those fan restrictions, my Mom was thankfully able to get in because she has a camera, but my Dad couldn’t. He was willing to do whatever he needed to do to get into the gym because he couldn’t stand missing one of my games. So he was in charge of doing the scorebook. He kept saying ‘I am going to see my daughter play and be there.’ His support means so much.”

Two teammates Willett has loved playing with are Tamoy Marner, who is currently dealing with an injury, and shooting guard Raegen Perry.

“Tamoy and I have always had that bond in basketball,” Willett said. “Then Raegen and I are like two peas in a pod. We are very similar people and are very close. We have grown up playing these sports together.”

Willett said that she has loved to see the fans at all of these home games this season and hopes that fans will make there way to the Nantucket High School gym on Saturday for the Whaler’s senior day when they host St. John Paul II at 12:30 p.m.

“It is awesome to see familiar faces in the crowd,” Willett said. “Even our last game, we didn’t win but we looked into the stands and saw familiar faces. It would mean so much if we had a great turnout on Saturday. I think we can beat SJP, and having our friends and family there to cheer us on could go a long way towards helping us snap this losing streak we are on.”

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