Teamwork key to success for Blue Devils girls' team
By John Bernhardt
Preseason practice has drawn to a close and Margaretville girls’ basketball coach Kyle Holden knows his team is a work in progress. Holden understands his Blue Devil roster has the experience, quickness, and depth to compete if they can learn to trust each other and care more about team then individual success.
Five seniors anchor the roster. Annette Hogan is back for her fourth season on the varsity. After the Blue Devils got out of the gate slowly last season, winning only one of their first five games, Hogan took over duties as the point guard.
“Annette leaves it all on the floor,” praised Holden when explaining his senior’s play. An accomplished scorer, Hogan led the Blue Devils in almost every statistical category as a junior, and Holden is expecting a big year from his senior sharpshooter this winter.
Hogan’s move to the point freed Kaitlin Short to better utilize her outside shooting marksmanship and stretch the attack. An adept ball-handler, Short has shown the confidence and passing skills needed to involve her teammates in the offense.
Margaretville’s senior guard play improves the inside opportunities for center Sami Hunt. Hunt, who led the team in rebounding and blocked shots last winter, is a force around the basket.
Strong inside play
“I think Sami expected more of herself as an offensive player and is eager to improve her output this year,” explained Holden. “If her practice play is an indicator, Sami is ready to show the league every dimension of her game,” finished Holden.
Senior Cecilia Galatioto returns to fill the four spot at forward. A strong rebounder, Galatioto has the ability to knock down a long-range jump-shot and set up her teammates to score. Holden expects big assist totals for his senior forward this season.
Senior Issis Orrego provides added depth. Orrego’s great team attitude, love of the game, and eagerness to learn more basketball impresses Holden.
A pair of junior guards, Cora Bruno and Elia Tanzer, play a key role in Holden’s game plan. Bruno ran the point last year on the junior varsity. Fast hands make Bruno a formidable defender. The speedy guard has an accurate outside shot and sees the floor well. Tanzer brings high-energy guard play to the Blue Devils’ game. Speed and aggressiveness make Tanzer a disruptive defender. Tanzer runs like a rabbit and can bust out in front of a fast break.
Holden will be looking to junior Alana Moskowitz for the versatility to provide depth from both the perimeter positions and around the basket. A quick study, Moskowitz moved up from the junior varsity and is picking up the game quickly at both spots on the floor.
New to varsity
Another junior, Rhiannon Kearns, is playing varsity basketball for the first time. Kearns is an eager learner working hard on improving her ball control, assessing defensive schemes, and making the correct offensive and defensive reads.
After an extended absence, junior Kim Fairbairn returns to the basketball hardwoods. A positive attitude and eagerness to contribute to team success has Fairbairn working hard in practice to improve her game.
A sophomore, Hailee Hunter, will be backing up Hunt in the center position.
“Hailee worked hard on improving her game during the off-season at home and it shows,” explained Holden. “Hailee might be quiet on Main Street, but this girl can be a tiger on the basketball court,” praised the Blue Devils’ coach.
Rebounding & defense
Holden is expecting Hunter to log quality minutes around the basket, pulling down rebounds and plugging up the defense in the paint.
Ray Preston’s Davenport Wildcats have become an almost perennial fixture in the Delaware League’s championship game, and most coaches pick South Kortright as the preseason team favored to win this year’s DL crown. Holden is not really concerned with all that. Instead, the Blue Devil coach’s top priority is seeing his team come together to make the best of their ability and basketball potential. If his Blue Devils can accomplish that goal, Holden is confident his team will compete.