On December 6th, when Tabor Academy’s Molly Bent laced up her basketball sneakers before playing in her first game of the season, there was something different.
Not only was the sophomore guard suiting up for a different school, she was also playing for a different coach.
George Bent, her father and coach when she played at Barnstable High School, was not calling the plays from the sideline. Instead, he was cheering on his daughter from the bleachers.
“I was just so used to playing for my dad that it felt like a normal thing,” Bent said. “It doesn’t feel too different because he still tells me things that I should work on after the game, but not seeing him on the bench and he’s always very fired up, so that’s different.”
It was the first time George Bent watched his daughter play high school basketball for anyone but himself. Bent coached his daughter on every team she played on: the Cape Cod YMCA league, Barnstable Travel league, high school, and AAU basketball. However, due to MIAA rules, Bent stopped playing AAU for her father in the ninth grade.
“Although I miss coaching Molly, I know she is in good hands both with Will Becker at Tabor and Jim Edgehill with the Rhode Island Breakers,” Bent said. “I thoroughly enjoy watching her play for Tabor. I miss the thrill of being part of the game, but at the same time I love just being a Dad in the stands.”
Molly has been playing basketball for as long as she could remember. Her basketball-crazed father put a basketball in her hands in kindergarten and she’s been playing ever since.
George Bent never pushed the sport on his daughter. She admits that although he introduced her to the sport , her passion for the game is the reason she continues to play.
“He doesn’t push it on me. When we practice together, it’s always me asking him. He never says, ‘ok, it’s time to go shoot,’ ” Bent said. “If I say, ‘hey dad can we go shoot,’ he’ll say sure. He’ll always rebound, he’ll always play. But he never pushes it on me.”
Molly’s high school career started at Barnstable, where she averaged 27 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists per game. By her sophomore year, she reached the 1,000th point mark and was named a Globe All-Scholastic. She finished her career at Barnstable with 1,001 points, before transferring to Tabor Academy and reclassifying to repeat her sophomore year.
Bent’s first few weeks at Tabor were tough. She was homesick. The two-sport athlete found herself missing home so much that her and her family considered making her a day student, in order for her to go back and forth from school to home.
But Bent stuck with it and found refuge in her soccer and basketball teammates.
“I was really homesick in the beginning and I was considering becoming a day student because I was just really homesick,” Bent said. “But then I switched dorms to a dorm that has a lot of the soccer girls and basketball girls on the team, so that helped. It’s been good ever since.”
This season, Bent’s soccer team went undefeated and hoisted the New England Prep School Championship trophy. Her basketball team is currently 10-3 with the New England Prep School tournament approaching.
Bent’s relationship with her father goes beyond the court.
When they’re not practicing, they’re watching their favorite shows: Modern Family, Friday Night Lights, or Law and Order SVU. And when they’re out, they enjoy biking and running road races. The Bents take part in the Falmouth Road Race every year and the Jolly Jaunt for Special Olympics, in honor of her eight-year-old sister, Sarah, who has Down’s Syndrome.
While not coaching his daughter may be tough, Bent embraces the role of just being a father. Both the soccer coach, Steve Sugrue, and basketball coach, Becker, allow Bent to drive his daughter back to Tabor after away games.
“I cherish the time driving with her and stopping at Bertucci’s and DQ,” Bent said. “I miss her very much now that she is at Tabor and I always look forward to Wednesdays and Saturdays to go see her play in her games and to take her out to dinner.”
Newton North’s Thomas-Waheed suspended
Newton North’s Infiniti Thomas-Waheed, who sat out in Friday’s game against second-ranked Braintree, will sit out the next four games due to an MIAA suspension. The senior, who was an All-Scholastic last year, will return to action when the Tigers travel to Framingham on Feb. 11th.
Games of the week
Arlington Catholic at No.18 Archbishop Williams, Tuesday, 6:30 — Archbishop Williams is looking to avenge a 7-point loss to the Cougars January 9th. Arlington Catholic is looking to get back in the win column after a 3-point loss to sixth-ranked St. Mary’s Friday. The Bishops are on a three-game winning streak, their longest since the beginning of the season.
No. 20 Peabody at No. 3 Lynn English, Tuesday, 7:00 — The Bulldogs are off to an impressive 15-0 start. In their first contest against Peabody, Lynn English won, 52-36. The Tanners will have to contain Lynn English’s big three of Diondra Woumn, Deidra Newson, and Catherine Stinson if they want to hand the Bulldogs their first loss.