They’ve got high hoops

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2003 Girls’ Basketball Preview

St. Maria Goretti coach Chip Reitano is promising a vast improvement over last year’s 0-12 mark, and that’s based on more than just wishful thinking. Since the end of last season, the coach and his players have dedicated themselves to transforming the program.

The commitment included spending a week of summer vacation at a 32-team camp at Messiah College. The tournament drew squads from Virginia, New York, New Jersey and Illinois. The Lambs held their own by finishing 4-7.

"We were in the toughest bracket," Reitano said. "I am very happy with the way the girls played."

An even more positive indicator: The Lambs have opened the preseason with a 5-0 mark. Reitano is noticing big differences in team play, as Goretti is averaging more than 42 rebounds a game as compared to 27 a year ago. The team’s assist average also has improved from six a game to 15.

"They are really working together," Reitano said. "We spent the whole summer making sure everybody was doing something. We really jelled as a team."

Since the Lambs don’t have height in their favor, with just one player over 6 feet, the squad is stressing strong team defense as the path to the Catholic League playoffs.

"We want to generate points off defense," Reitano said.

2002 Recap: The Lambs finished winless in the Catholic League’s Southern Division, 0-12.

Projected starters:

F Janae Ostrowski 6’1" JR
F Kerri Master 5’10" SR*
F Lindsey Trock 5’7" SR*
C Rebecca Panrock 5’9" SR
G Heather Cacciola 5’5" SR
PG Natasha Scott 5’4" JR

*The starting lineup will vary depending on match-ups.

Bench

G/F Sierra Rambert 5’6" FR
PG Alicia Klevecka 5’1" SO

Teams to beat: Carroll, O’Hara and Prendergast

Goal: Become the first Goretti basketball team in 16 years to make the Catholic League playoffs.

Coach’s outlook: "All we’ve talked about through the spring and summer is that we can’t let [finishing 0-12] happen again. We are going to approach every team differently."

Schedule:

Tomorrow Little Flower Away 5 p.m.
Sunday Archbishop Prendergast Home 5 p.m.
Jan. 9 Cardinal O’Hara Home 4 p.m.
Jan. 14 West Catholic Away 3:30 p.m.
Jan. 16 Archbishop Carroll Away 5 p.m.
Jan. 17 New Hope-Solebury Away 7:15 p.m.
Jan. 24 Hallahan Home 5 p.m.
Jan. 27 Upper Darby Away 3:45 p.m.
Jan. 31 Little Flower Home 5 p.m.
Feb. 4 Archbishop Prendergast Away 5 p.m.
Feb. 6 Cardinal O’Hara Away 3:30 p.m.
Feb. 7 Friends Central Home 5:15 p.m.
Feb. 11 West Catholic Home 5:15 p.m.
Feb. 13 Archbishop Carroll Home 5 p.m.
Feb. 18 Hallahan Away 6 p.m.

Audenried

When coach Bill Edger needs his team to score, he looks to junior guard Jamillah Mason. As a sophomore, Mason ranked among the Public League leaders with 17.1 points per game.

At 5-foot-7, she is also one of the taller players on an undersized Warriors team. Freshman Mykera Simmons, 5-foot-9, tops the squad’s height charts.

With one freshman and two sophomores as starters, Audenried will use the 2003 season to gain some varsity experience and, hopefully, to improve on last year’s two-win mark.

2002 Recap: The Warriors finished 2-8 and missed the playoffs

Projected starters:

F Aleasha Welton 5’5" O
F Danielle Smith 5’5" SR
C Mykera Simmons 5’9" FR
PG Rashera Sims 5’5" SO
G Jamillah Mason 5’7" JR

Bench

F Corrie Gonzalez 5’7" FR

Teams to beat: Lamberton and Northeast

Goal: Finishing with a .500 record.

Coach’s outlook: "We have some decent talent without a lot of height."

Schedule:

Tomorrow Overbrook Away
Wednesday Washington Home
Jan. 10 Northeast Away
Jan. 17 Roxborough Away
Jan. 22 Kensington Away
Jan. 27 Prep Charter Away
Jan. 29 Mastbaum Home
Jan. 31 Furness Away
Feb. 5 West Philadelphia Home
Feb. 7 Lincoln Away
Feb. 12 Olney Home
Feb. 14 Edison Home

All games start at 3 p.m.

Bok

The Wildkittens’ toughest test of the season comes tomorrow afternoon when they host Ben Franklin, a Gold Division member, in a non-league contest. Bok isn’t expecting to stage an upset, but a close game would give the local squad an early confidence booster as it strives toward improvement.

The Wildkittens’ shooting consistency could make or break the season. Coach Greg Frangipani said his players are struggling in the early going.

Before the holiday break, the team dedicated its practice session to taking jump shot after jump shot after jump shot.

"We play pretty good defense," Frangipani said. "We’ve just got to shoot better. We’ve got to run some stuff down low and get some easier shots."

2002 Recap: Bok missed the playoffs with a 2-8 record.

Projected starters:

F Chanita Jordan 6’1" FR
F Jasmina McCullers 5’10" JR
G Nyesha Whitney 5’4" JR
G Jessica Walker 5’6" JR
G Latoya Bailey 5’6" SR

Bench

G/F Danaya Boyer 5’7" JR
G Melissa Busillo 5’5" SR

Teams to beat: West Philadelphia and Olney

Goal: Finish with a .500 record.

Coach’s outlook: "If everybody is on the same page and Chanita contributes, we can be a .500 club."

Schedule:

Tomorrow Ben Franklin Home
Wednesday Masterman Away
Jan. 10 Olney Home
Jan. 15 Audenried Away
Jan. 17 Mastbaum Home
Jan. 22 Prep Charter Home
Jan. 27 Furness Home
Jan. 29 Edison Away
Jan. 31 Roxborough Home
Feb. 5 Lincoln Away
Feb. 7 Kensington Away
Feb. 12 West Philadelphia Home
Feb. 14 Northeast Away

All games start at 3 p.m.

Furness

Coach Bob Weidinger believes the Falcons finally have the talent in place to reverse losing seasons in the Bronze Division, thanks to the arrival of freshman forward Latasha Cook. When the coach first saw the Olney resident step on the court, he quickly noticed that the rookie "has all the tools to be a really good high-school player."

Contending for the Bronze Division title might be a little out of reach, but Weidinger predicts his team will pick up a few more wins this season.

"If we get points in the paint, I’ll think we’ll have a decent year," the coach said.

2002 Recap: The Lady Falcons missed the playoffs with a 2-8 record.

Projected starters:

F Latasha Cook 5’9" FR
F Monica Hill 5’6" JR
C Alisha Joyner 5’7" SO
G Jasmine Bembery 5’4" JR
G Cheron Wise 5’5" JR

Teams to beat: Northeast and West Philadelphia

Goal: Finish with a .500 record.

Coach’s outlook: "I hope our starting five gets better as the year goes on. We’ve got to learn to play better team ball."

Schedule

Tomorrow King Away
Wednesday Lamberton Home
Jan. 10 Lincoln Home
Jan. 15 Roxborough Away
Jan. 17 Prep Charter Home
Jan. 22 West Philadelphia Home
Jan. 27 Bok Away
Jan. 29 Olney Away
Jan. 31 Audenried Home
Feb. 5 Edison Away
Feb. 7 Northeast Home
Feb. 12 Mastbaum Home
Feb. 14 Kensington Home

All games start at 3:15 p.m.

Southern

Those Public League championship days are a distant memory for coach Bob Fisicaro. Just three years ago, the Lady Rams owned the title, but now they can hardly buy a win.

Making matters worse is a sudden shortage of veteran players. Three seniors were expected back this season, but two dropped out of school and the other is academically ineligible. In addition, Renellis Brown, a 5-foot-11 junior, is out for the season with a torn right ACL.

Given these obstacles, the Lady Rams are going back to the basics. The returning group has little varsity experience, so Fisicaro is using the preseason to discover which players have the most potential.

"I am waiting to see what develops and who steps up," the coach said. "We have no experience."

Now that the local squad dropped to the Silver Division, it will no longer go up against Public League championship contenders Central, University City and Franklin Learning Center.

2002 Recap: Southern’s downward spiral continued with a 1-9 mark and a demotion to the Silver Division.

Projected starters:

C Kristen Allen 5’10" SO
G Iyesha Brown 5’5" SR*
G Brandy Leopanto 5′ SR*
G Shyeema Robinson 5’4" SR*
G Kenya Cruz 5’11" FR*
G Katrina Leopanto 5’5" JR*

*All five guards are expected to start at certain points this season.

Goals: Teach the fundamentals of the game, develop as a team and be aggressive.

Coach’s outlook: "I have to be very patient. The season will be measured by our development and growth."

Schedule

Wednesday West Philadelphia Away
Jan. 10 Masterman Home
Jan. 15 Fels Home
Jan. 17 Dobbins Away
Jan. 22 Bartram Home
Jan. 29 Girls High Away
Jan. 31 Bodine Away
Feb. 5 Lamberton Home
Feb. 7 Frankford Away
Feb. 12 Parkway Home
Feb. 14 Washington Away

All games start at 3 p.m.


Prep Charter

As Public League rookies, the Huskies have the opportunity to surprise a lot of Bronze Division teams, and maybe contend for a playoff spot. But the local squad could just as easily face a tough adjustment to varsity competition.

The team’s male counterparts finished with one win in last year’s debut season. For now, coach Lisa Benvenuto’s top priority is training the Huskies to handle their opponents.

"Obviously, the competition is stronger," Benvenuto said. "Most people are coming to get us. We want to show people we are not just going to be a walk in the park."

2002 Recap: Played a junior-varsity schedule.

Projected starters:

C Sabrya McDuffie 6’2" SO
F Michele Hall 5’11" SR
G Shana Jordan 5’11" JR
G Jakiyyah Workman 5’4" SO
PG Ashley Pearsall 5’3" SO

Bench:

G Dawn Hayes 5’6" SO
F Danielle Jemison 5’8" SR
F Corrida Tutt 6′ SO

Goals: Play every game well and compete.

Coach’s outlook: "At this point we want to take everything one game at a time."

No schedule was available at press time.


2002 Standings

Public League
Gold Division

Central 10-0
FLC 8-2
University City 7-3
Simon Gratz 7-3
E&S; 6-4
Germantown 5-5
William Penn 4-6
Overbrook 3-7
Bodine 1-9
Ben Franklin 1-9
Southern 1-9


Public League
Bronze Division

Lamberton 9-1
Fels 8-2
Northeast 8-2
Lincoln 7-3
Edison 7-3
Roxborough 6-4
Olney 3-7
Bok 2-8
Furness 2-8
Audenried 2-8
Mastbaum 1-9


Catholic League
Southern Division

O’Hara 12-2
Carroll 10-2
Prendergast 8-4
West Catholic 5-7
Little Flower 4-8
Hallahan 3-9
Goretti 0-12