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Young Woodridge girls basketball team looking for speed

12/19/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

PENINSULA — Woodridge High School girls basketball head coach Chris Esterak said he is putting together “a more up-tempo type of team” this season.

“The strength of this year’s team is that we are faster at the guard and forward positions,” he said. “We are changing our philosophy from more of a half-court team from the past to a transition team, which takes a little time for a young team to grasp.”

Through the team’s first six games, Woodridge was out to a 1-5 record.

“Thus far, we are about where I expected us to be as a young team,” the coach said. “I was hoping to have more wins, but I understood coming in we were very inexperienced. I was returning one starter from last year, and she was young herself (sophomore Abbe Esterak), and our only other experienced player was senior Sarah Kariotis.”

According to Esterak, Kariotis and Esterak are team captains who do “a lot” for the team.

“Sarah Kariotis is averaging five points and 10 rebounds a game. I ask a lot of her. She is a great leader. She is definitely the glue that keeps us together,” the coach said. “My leading scorer is Abbe Esterak, who is averaging 18 points a game and three assists playing point. Abbe was special mention All-District and honorable mention All-Conference as a freshman last year, starting every game at point. We ask her to do a lot offensively for us — start the offense, handle the press and score.”

The team’s third captain this season is forward/guard Shayla Williams.

“Our second-leading scorer, she is averaging 11 points and nine rebounds a game,” Esterak said. “She has had two double-doubles the last two games. Shayla is a rare combo of a post that has guard skills. She does a lot for us. She is becoming a big scorer for us.”

The team’s only other upperclassman this year is junior Sabrina Fisher, who is in her first year on varsity.

“She is an improving center who I feel by midseason will help us offensively and defensively,” Esterak said. “She is a hard worker who strives to get better every day.”

The remainder of the roster is comprised of sophomores, the coach said.

“Sophomore shooting guard Aamirah Howard brings a lot of speed and defense to our front court. We ask Aamirah to do a lot defensively for us and to add to the offense. She has a chance to become a good scorer for us,” Esterak said. “We round out the sophomores with center Reagan Lovelace, who is becoming a nice front court player for us, and Nadja Rashid, who has the chance to bring points off the bench for us on the guard position. Also coming off the bench is Hannah Gilles, who plays both guard and post for us.”

Esterak said his team is working on limiting turnovers.

“Right now, that is our Achilles’ heel. We are turning the ball over more than we would like. We are working on putting ourselves in better situations with the ball and making better decisions,” he stated. “I would like to continue to see the team improve our half-court defense and press rotations. I also would like to see a better execution in our half-court sets and offense when we are made to slow the game down.”

According to the coach, Woodridge’s primary goals this season are pretty straight forward.

“Our goals are to continue to get better and to try to finish with a winning record to continue our streak of four straight years with a winning record,” he said.

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