High hoops: Girls’ basketball team adjusts to season changes

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The girls' basketball team trains for back-to-back seasons of success.

By Aimee Buttenbaum and Melinda Xu, Sports Editor and Web Editor

As the girls’ varsity basketball team sets foot in the large gym to prepare for the upcoming season. The girls are focused, with eyes fixed on coach AJ Thompson and ears in tune with the deafening sound of the whistle.

After ending a winning 2017-2018 season with a record of 10-4, the girls’ varsity basketball team hopes for a repeat this season, with new changes added to the mix.

“We have new coaches and a lot of new players, so it takes time to build that trust and cohesiveness needed to be successful,” head coach AJ Thompson said.

Bringing it back: A ‘Stoga girls basketball player looks to bring the ball back into play for her team. The team this year is heavily packed with upperclassmen, only having one freshman on the team.

However, despite the little time the team has spent with Thompson, they have adjusted well.

“The team has so much respect for Coach Thompson and his view of the game,” senior Hailey Klinger said. “At first, there was a bit of a learning curve with the new offenses that we are going to play this year, but now we all have a better understanding of the overall scheme.”

Even with only a few weeks of the season under the team’s belt, Thompson believes that their hard work during practices will put them in the right direction.

“I’m not a believer in setting win or loss goals,” Thompson said. “I think if our focus is getting better each day, the wins will take care of themselves.”

With the loss of nine senior players from last year, the dynamic of the team has shifted towards the underclassmen.

“We have a lot of underclassmen on varsity this year that are taking on a new role and are doing an amazing job,” said junior Katharine Gay, a member of the girls’ varsity team.  “We have a total of seven upperclassmen on the team total but the sophomores and even freshmen are adjusting well to a faster and more physical game as well.”

Keeping open: Junior Emily Lortz looks for an open pass in the scrimmage against Owen J. Roberts. The girls’ basketball team ended last year’s season with a record of 10-4.

According to Klinger, the team is putting in their best efforts to integrate the new members and create a cohesive front during practice.

“We are excited about our young players, and it is so important that we all contribute to making one another stronger basketball players,” Klinger said. “I believe that it is really a group effort and it is the responsibility of each girl on the team to step up.”

For Katie Faith, the only freshman on the squad, the older girls on the team have made being on the varsity team a rewarding experience.

“The upperclassmen have been extremely supportive by helping me manage the pressure, encouraging me to work harder and giving me advice during practice and games,” Faith said.

The girls have already begun preparing to compete against their biggest rival, Garnet Valley, who they play in their first league game on Dec. 11.

“They are a strong team with very talented basketball players, and it will take a complete team effort to beat the defending Central League champs,” Klinger said.

As the team advances in the 2018-2019 season, Klinger has high hopes.

“I look forward to playing hard with a group of girls that I enjoy being with everyday,” Klinger said.  “We are looking to continue our success that we have built over the past few years and be in the hunt for the Central League title and compete in Districts and States.”

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