Hard work key for ACS hoops team

By John Bernhardt
Sitting out a basketball season for a hardwood-loving coach is like a scratch that just won’t stop itching. Jeff Rhone decided to tickle that scratch when he returned to the sidelines to coach the Andes girls’ basketball team this winter. Rhone gets a big boost from assistant coaches Tom and Susie Little, the coaches of last season’s Mountaineer team.

Rhone takes over a team in transition, a squad with more questions than answers trying to replace three seniors lost to graduation who were the heart and soul of last year’s squad. Gone are Ashley Terry, Desirae Coss and Marissa Heannings, three starters who contributed over half of Andes’ scoring last year. Terry made the Keuka College Storm basketball team this fall.

A lack of height and experience are issues confronting Rhone. Half of Andes’ 10-player roster are freshman and sophomores and the team lacks a tall traditional center. The new coach hopes that what his squad might lacks in size and basketball know-how, they’ll make for up in effort.
“If we stick together and keep pushing the limits in practice, we’ll have a successful season,” emphasizes Rhone.

Two seniors, Kelsey Little and Jade Litaker, are the team captains. Little, quick and intelligent, will quarterback the Mountaineers’ at point guard. An aggressive rebounder and finisher, Rhone is expecting Litaker to provide a boost around the basket.

Three juniors, Shianne Coss, Samantha Falco and Jordan Day, will play big roles. Coss is quick and athletic with a good move to the basket and will be asked to replace some of the offense lost to graduation last year. A playmaking guard, Falco adds offensive balance, and Day is a solid post player.

A strong defender, sophomore guard Cassandra Storey is tough and gritty guarding the ball. Another sophomore, Rebecca Kole is working hard at a forward slot.

Two freshmen hold promise for the future. Cheyenne Weaver demonstrates good footwork as a strong forward and will provide Rhone with reinforcement around the basket. Cierra Laurie is a hard-working freshman guard. Rhone is impressed with the quick learning curve Laurie has shown during the preseason.

“As much as anything else, I’m hoping these girls will learn to love this great game,” noted Rhone. “To this point, the girls have been working very hard and demonstrating mental toughness,” praised the Andes coach.

For Rhone that’s a soothing anti-itch basketball lotion he’s happy to apply.