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Walsh girls basketball team looking to make strong postseason run

2/14/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

CUYAHOGA FALLS — Through Feb. 9, the Walsh Jesuit High School girls basketball team was out to a 14-6 overall record, including a perfect 9-0 mark in league play, and head coach Pete Zaccari said he has been “pleased” with how his team has performed this season.

“Having graduated four two-year starters from last year’s team, we were lacking experience, but I have been pleased with how the girls played early in the season,” he said. “We play a tough schedule, and the girls have competed well and improved.”

The coach said his team has gotten better as the season has progressed.

“We have seen tremendous improvement throughout the program,” he said. “Lack of depth has been a concern, but the bench has worked hard and given us some strong minutes as of late.”

Zaccari said the strengths of this year’s team are “our speed and our ability to pressure the opposition.”

However, with the postseason coming soon, Zaccari said there are some areas where he would like to see his team improve.

“Rebounding and eliminating unforced errors are the keys as we move forward,” he said. “We have done well [in limiting turnovers], but not with enough consistency. We want to be aggressive, yet make good decisions on the court.”

According to Zaccari, the team has received strong play this year from a trio of seniors — Jessa Gilberto, Sophia Simone and Regina Bandwen.

“Jessa Gilberto is averaging 15.8 points per game. She is our leading scorer with good athletic ability and quickness,” he stated. “Sophia Simone is the most improved player on the team. She gets the most out of her abilities and has made us a better team. She is averaging 8.9 points per game. Regina Bandwen is our sixth man and one of our captains. Regina has worked hard to earn her role as a leader of our team.”

Another key contributor this season, the coach said, is junior Rachel Keough.

“She is a captain and a solid player who does all the little things well,” he said. “Rachel is our best defender.”

In addition, sophomores Lilli Piper and Anna Hall are two underclassmen Zaccari cited for having standout seasons.

“Lilli Piper is a great athlete who competes hard. She’s developing her skills and quickly becoming a dominant force on the court,” he said. “Anna Hall is a point guard who had to learn and grow quickly. She has handled the expectations well and is learning how to handle the team on the floor. She has great quickness and is a fierce competitor.”

With continued improvement, Zaccari said, Walsh has the ability to accomplish some goals and finish this season on a high note.

“We want to finish the season strong, get healthy, win our league and get mentally prepared for the playoffs,” he said. “This team has a great personality to it and enjoys playing together and being a Warrior. If we can continue to improve our consistency, we like our chances as we proceed into the postseason.”

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