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Progress key for Springfield girls basketball team this season

12/6/2012 - South Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield girls basketball head coach Lori Henary said she is looking for good, fundamental play from her team on both ends of the court this season.

“We try to execute a few schemes that highlight our strengths. We still need to work on our execution of both offense and defense while under pressure,” she said. “I really try to focus the girls on one practice, one quarter, one game at a time. We know in the long run that we want to be better as far as wins and losses go. However, I try to stress that victories will come with daily progress and that will only happen if we work hard every day. I tell them that we have ground to gain, so anything less than 100 percent is unacceptable.”

Last season, the team finished 3-18 and lost in the first round of the Lake sectional to Norton.

“We are looking to improve on our record from last year, and obviously that entails improving our execution on the offensive and defensive ends of the floor,” Henary said. “Our strength is our effort level and our team chemistry. The girls play hard not only for me, but for themselves and each other. We have a strong team chemistry — that carries onto the floor. We have six seniors this year, so I would say that we are a veteran team, but we are definitely still learning how to win.”

The seniors on this year’s team are forwards Sam Karas, Marisa Lucco and Brittany Alekna, and guards Jaime Alcorn, Kennedy Halman and Cara Hathaway.

“First of all, they are great students and role models for their peers, and positively impact the daily life of our high school,” Henary said. “They are the hardest-working group at practice every day and expect the same effort from the underclassmen. We will rely on all of them to contribute on both ends of the floor because they will take 80 percent of the playing time among them.”

According to Henary, both Karas and Alcorn have the potential to earn some postseason recognition.

“We have not had any of our athletes make first- or second-team [Portage Trail Conference] since I have been here, and we have two players who have that potential,” she said. “It is long season, but if Sam and Jaime perform to the level that I know they are capable, we will win more games, which may earn them some individual accolades in the end.”

Among the team’s nonseniors, Henary said, Allie Rodenbucher is “a bright spot” for the team’s future.

“She is a forward and has the advantage of practicing against Sam Karas every day. Because of this, she will make great fundamental strides this year,” the coach said. “She has already learned a lot and is farther along in the understanding of our varsity system than other underclassmen I have seen in our program.”

This is Henary’s third season with the Springfield girls basketball team. She said the program has added a new junior varsity coach this year.

“Her name is Jessica Mazanets, and she coached at Parma last year,” Henary said. “She is a student-athlete graduate of both Crestwood High School and Hiram College and has been an awesome addition to our program.”

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