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Springfield girls basketball program looking to make strides

2/28/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

SPRINGFIELD — Head coach Lori Henary said the Springfield High School girls basketball program is “heading in the right direction.”

“I think that we are definitely a better team in February than in October,” she said. “We have a lot of ground to make up, most of which needs to happen in the offseason. The season is long, and we try to keep the girls motivated to practice game speed everyday.”

The team finished the 2012-13 season with a 7-16 overall record.

“I think our win total is close to what I predicted and we were more competitive on a game-to-game comparison of last year,” the coach said. “There were some games that I thought we could have played better and the score was not necessarily a good indicator of the progress of our team from last season. I guess most teams could say that, though. However, we also had games that really highlighted the hard work of our girls and coaches. We had a huge upset victory over Norton, probably the biggest in our program’s history, and only lost at Kent by three. Both of those games are validation that we are heading in the right direction.”

Henary described her team as “scrappy.”

“I think our girls are starting to realize that we must play hard in order to be competitive,” she stated. “With an unsuccessful past, it is easy to get sucked into not giving your best effort, and, as a coaching staff, we have tried to emphasize that it is not OK to just go through the motions. I tell the girls every day, ‘You’re either getting better or you’re getting worse.’ Off the floor, I think our girls are great citizens.”

Henary said she will “really miss” this year’s senior class.

“We have a great senior class who have bought in to our coaching, stayed positive and made it a point to improve daily,” she stated. “They are a great group of young women and have been outstanding role models on and off the floor.”

The following is what Henary had to say about each of the six seniors on this year’s team:

  • “Kennedy Halman is our little engine who could. She is the perfect example of ‘a lot of heart and character in a little package.’ She works hard regardless of what kind of game she is having. She is one of our best defenders, so she usually defends the other team’s point guard. Kennedy is not afraid to sacrifice her body by being the first girl on the floor after a loose ball or rebounding in the paint with the big dogs. Kennedy was also huge by playing JV [junior varsity] this year. We didn’t have many numbers this year, and I think we might have had to cancel JV games if she wouldn’t have played. That is a perfect example of the person she is.”
  • “Jaime Alcorn was our starting point guard for the second year in a row. She has improved dramatically over these last two years, and probably would have had more varsity experience as a sophomore if she wouldn’t have sat out most of that season with a broken toe. She has struggled with turnovers this year but has had her share of highlights. Her best moment was hitting the game-winning shot against Norton.”
  • “Marisa Lucco suffered an ACL [anterior cruciate ligament] tear just after our second game, so she has been out all year. She could have definitely made an impact this year, being the only possible four-year starter since I’ve been here.”
  • “Cara Hathaway has had an eye-opening season. I think she has really learned to play with everything she’s got, and she has become a more confident shooter.”
  • “Brittany Alekna is one of the happiest kids I have ever met. On the floor, she is very competitive and strong willed, but off the floor she can always make the team laugh.”
  • “Sam Karas is probably the player that stands out the most on the floor. She is aggressive, a good defender and [led] us in scoring.”

Springfield’s season ended Feb. 20 with a postseason loss to Lake, but Henary said her team knows what it needs to focus on moving forward.

“We will continue to emphasize the things we have been working on all season. Our focus has been defense and rebounding,” she said. “We have stressed to the girls that our most competitive losses and our victories have come when the game is low scoring and we rebound well.”

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