Girls basketball co-captain Nomen Iselen weighs in on the past season


Nomen Iselen

Junior Nomen Iselen shoots a three pointer.

Junior Nomen Iselen, co-captain of the women’s basketball team, looks back on her journey as part of the varsity team for the past three years and her goals for her senior season.  

Iselen started playing basketball after she saw her older siblings play. “I’ve grown up around basketball.” she said. “I’m the youngest, so my siblings would go play basketball at nearby hoops and I’d kind of be involved in it.”

At a young age, she explored different sports such as swimming, softball and volleyball. However, Iselen became more interested with basketball towards the end of her elementary school years. In her freshman year, she tried out for Dougherty’s varsity women’s basketball team. 

“[In] freshman year I just believed in myself enough to try out for varsity, and that’s kind of how I started off my high school journey,” Iselen said. 

The next two years, she continued playing on the varsity team, even becoming co-captain this year. She commented how “this season [went] a lot better than last season” with the team record of 8-12 compared to the 2021-2022 season’s record of 7-15.  

“We didn’t reach all the goals that we wanted to, but I think we got really close to them,” Iselen said with high hopes for the next season. “Even though we’re losing a big part of our team because of the seniors leaving, I think if we are able to play through that, we will go a lot farther next season.” 

This season, Iselen improved her playing on the court by “reading the offense and [making] that switch [between offense and defense].”

She believes this skill has made her stand out among her teammates and competitors.

“On a good team, you need to have somebody that knows that step ahead and is a step ahead of everyone else,” she added. Being that person on Dougherty Valley’s team has allowed Iselen to recognize the flow of the offense and “get to where I am right now as a leader on the team.” 

“On a good team, you need to have somebody that knows that step ahead and is a step ahead of everyone else,” Iselen added.

However, over the last summer, Iselen re-injured her knee. She explained that her small injuries accumulated over the past season, and it’s had the largest effect on her mentally. 

“It’s kind of affected how I trust my body,” she said. “I’ve been talking to the sports psychologist here, trying to be in the moment and eliminating outside distractions and [working out what] my body can do or what I think it can do.” Iselen added that she has been playing through it along with figuring out her limits and how to safely break them. 

Though this injury did not set her back from accomplishing her goals. Iselen explained how she worked hard to get back to where she was and set expectations for herself to grow. 

“I think outside of [the injury], I really improved a lot from last year to this year. But I’m planning over this summer to improve a lot more and to try not to have my injury set me back,” she stated. 

Basketball has helped Iselen become a better leader but she’s still trying to figure out who she is without it. 

In order to find this person, Iselen is exploring different passions, “branch[ing] out, try[ing] new things — trying to get into music.” Along with basketball, she is joining the track team this year to “see what sticks.” 

As the season ends, Iselen reflects that “this was my best season — my junior year. This is my best season at Dougherty by far.” She looks forward to next year, where she wishes to leave the impact of “being a player that people can remember and have good memories with.” Iselen wants to be remembered as a “a player that just brings a smile to people’s faces,” in Dougherty Valley Varsity women’s basketball.