There’s not much going on in high school sports this week, but we managed to find a scrappy competitor who plays basketball at Andover Central and at the YMCA on North Woodlawn.
Senior Rachel Zarich, left, followed her dad to the pick-up games and became a regular player. She has no plans to continue her basketball career in college, but she sets her alarm for 5 a.m. and braves the cold weather to show up at the Y three times a week. What does she get for her trouble? A game where she constantly battles taller players and stands out as the only girl on the court.
“It was kind of intimidating at first,” she said.
Rachel, who is 5-3, admitted that she struggles in the paint because the guys block her pretty easily. However, she can grab long rebounds and shoot from the perimeter.
She said the other players encourage her to shoot.
“Once you make a couple, they’re like, ‘Oh, maybe she can kinda play,’” Rachel said.
Her determination to play starts before she even leaves the house. Sometimes she prods her dad to get up early.
“There’s plenty of times I wouldn’t have come if she wasn’t coming with me,” said Mike Zarich.
The father and daughter share of a love of basketball. Rachel doesn’t play at the YMCA as much during her high school season, but it’s a good bet she’ll be back in the spring.
“I’d miss it too much if I didn’t play,” said Rachel.