Manchester girls basketball team looking for young players to step up this year
NEW FRANKLIN — Last season, the Manchester High School girls basketball team finished with a 24-1 record.
The season ended with a loss in the regional semifinals to Clyde High School. However, head coach Tucker Pappas admitted the team is unlikely to repeat that kind of success this season.
“We are starting fresh,” he said. “Really, we just want to be competitive. We graduated four seniors that were four-year lettermen, and if we can win half of our games, I think we will be ready to make another run next year.”
Pappas said his biggest goal this season is to develop the team’s young players.
“We are very young, with only one senior and four lettermen back,” he said. “We are going to let these young players gain experience and improve each day. This is one of those years where we’ll be preparing for next year, but we’ve got to learn how to win this year to get to that next step.”
The team’s lone senior this season is Morgan Petroff, a two-year letterman.
“Morgan’s a hard worker.” Pappas said. “She comes to practice with a positive attitude and does what she can for the team. She’s pretty much the only true post player we have, so hopefully she can rebound for us and play well in the post.”
Pappas said he is looking for his young players to step up this season.
“Kayci Krzynowek is a three-year letterman and two-year starter. She is a great ball-handler and an intelligent player,” he said. “Junior Karley Dougherty and sophomore Alex Klein also played a lot of minutes last year and will be asked to do a lot for us.”
According to Pappas, Klein is a player who people might be surprised by this season.
“She can do a little bit of everything on the floor and is a leader as a sophomore,” the coach stated.
Another key player this season, Pappas noted, will be sophomore Emma Kreikbaum.
“Emma is probably going to be our starting point guard,” he said. “She’s young, but she’s definitely athletic enough to handle the ball and get the job done and get us in the positions we need to be in.”
Pappas said the strength of this year’s team should be its backcourt.
“Our guard play will be pretty good with good shooters and ball handlers that played some quality minutes,” he said. “Offensively, we look to shoot a lot of [three-pointers] and attack the basket. Defensively, we love to apply pressure and get after people.”
The coach said his team’s chief weakness will be inexperience.
“They’re young, so these kids don’t know what it’s like to play in the big game. They’ve watched it, but they haven’t played it,” he said. “Their ability to step up in that role will be key for us.”
Manchester’s season will get under way Nov. 23, when the Lady Panthers host Garfield High School.
“And then on Nov. 24 we play Wadsworth to open their new gym,” the coach noted.
Pappas said he is looking for “composure” from his young players in those first two games.
“I want to see how they react when things don’t go right,” he said. “I want to see who wants to step up and who wants the ball. I want to see who wants to take charge and be the vocal leader.”
This is Pappas’ ninth season with Manchester. His assistant coach is Nicole Neila.
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