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Springfield girls basketball team reaching for potential

11/28/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

SPRINGFIELD — After losing six seniors to graduation following the 2012-13 season, this year’s Springfield girls basketball team is “very young,” according to head coach Lori Henary.

“We will start two seniors, two sophomores and a freshman,” she said. “Our first three off the bench are a sophomore and two freshmen. With such a short and young bench, we are really going to rely on our starters to play a ton of minutes both hard and smart. We must become more consistent on both ends of the floor and learn to string together a couple good plays in a row, and also forget about a bad play after it happens.”

During the preseason, Henary and assistant coach Jessica Mazanetz have been stressing the importance of learning to “play hard” on a consistent basis.

“We have very limited participation this year, with only 14 players on both [junior varsity] and varsity combined. The girls are getting a lot of reps at practice and need to find a way to push past being tired,” Henary stated. “We spend more time scrimmaging and working on situational offense due to our lack of experience. Every day, I let them know that they are either getting better or getting worse, and there is nothing in between.”

One of the team’s two seniors — point guard Genny Pratt — is returning to the team after a year away from the sport, the coach noted.

“She is coming back off of not playing last year for personal reasons,” Henary said. “She is a good leader and works hard on defense. She is still learning a lot about our system due to missing last year, but is very coachable and has a ton more confidence than two years ago.”

The team’s other senior is Ally Graham, a four-year letterman and three-year starter in the program.

“She works hard on defense and will have to really step up on offense from last year,” the coach said. “She has great potential and is still learning how to be a good leader.”

Two sophomores will be counted on to play key roles for Springfield this season, Henary stated.

“Allie Rodenbucher saw significant minutes on varsity last year and will start as a sophomore this year. She is strong offensively and is working hard to become a better defender. She is a great ball handler for her size and can block shots. She will be a huge component to our team’s success,” the coach said. “I think our other starting sophomore, Sarah Treen, has a ton of potential, too. She can also be a scorer for us this season, but much like Allie, must work to become a better defender. She played limited varsity minutes last year but has played a lot of basketball in the offseason.”

According to Henary, this year’s team “has the potential to score more points” than previous Springfield girls basketball teams.

“However, we implemented a new offense this year and the girls are still trying to get comfortable with the change. Since we are so young, we sometimes struggle with pressure, but every day I see improvement on the offensive end,” she stated. “Defensively, we have to get better. This year, we are really stressing ball pressure.”

Last year, Springfield finished with a 7-16 overall record and a loss to Canton South in the first round of the postseason. This year, Henary said she is “unsure of what to expect from such a young team.”

“I do know that we have a lot of potential, and we will take one game at a time. I stress to the girls that our focus is on getting better every day, and winning will take care of itself,” she said. “The girls want to get better and buy into our coaching system. They get along off the floor and are great people.”

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