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Copley girls basketball team aiming for double-digit wins

1/2/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

COPLEY — Last year, the Copley High School girls basketball team finished with a 7-15 record in Darryl Anderson’s first season as head coach (following a 3-18 mark the previous season).

Through the first 10 games of this season, Copley was out to a .500 start, but Anderson said he wants his players to aim even higher.

“I realistically thought by New Year’s that we would be 7-4, or 8-3 if everything broke perfectly,” he said. “We only have one returning starter — 5-foot-10 senior post player Kaela Drake — and we start two freshmen in the backcourt, so we’ve had to do a lot of growing up. But I want to see us get to double-digit wins this year.”

Anderson said three things he likes about this year’s team are its “numbers, depth and youth.”

“We actively play 10 girls,” he said. “We’re gaining confidence with experience. We’ve learned that we have to do a lot of the little things to be successful.”

Drake has been a four-year starter for the team, the coach said.

“She’s hard-nosed,” Anderson noted. “She’s under-manned size wise, and she’s had to play against girls who are much bigger than her in the post. She is being counted on to carry a guard-oriented team in the post. She actually relishes contact.”

The team’s leading scorer this season is freshman Kiley Blachaniec.

“Kiley has been playing the two-guard or at small forward,” the coach stated.

At point guard, Anderson said, newcomers Tamia Parent and Yuka Suzuki have been sharing the role.

“Tamia is a 5-foot-4 freshman and Yuka Suzuki is a 5-foot-3 freshman,” the coach said. “All of the freshmen have been very active. They’ve played year-round. As a class, the freshmen have the best basketball IQ on the team. These freshmen have a great future ahead of them because they love the game, they want to get better and they have a high level of basketball IQ.”

Due to an overall lack of height, Anderson said, the team has been going with a four-guard rotation. The other two primary starters have been senior Christiana Morgan and junior Clare Schreiner.

“Christiana usually matches up on one of the other team’s post players. Technically, I guess you could almost say she’s our power forward at 5-foot-6,” he said. “Clare is a three-year starter. She is athletic, she plays hard and she’s fundamentally sound. She does a lot of the little things for us. We’ve mixed and matched the starting rotation, and Clare’s twin sister, Molly, has also started. They are basically interchangeable for us.”

Anderson said junior guard Breaysia Moorer also has spent time in the starting lineup for Copley.

“Last year, she was our starting point guard, but we’ve kind of gone with a youth movement in the backcourt,” he said. “But we inserted her into the starting lineup last week, and she responded with a 14-point effort with four three-pointers.”

Other key players on the team include junior guard Katie Cox and senior post player Josie Grunau.

“Katie is very athletic, and she’s a very hard worker,” Anderson said. “Josie is an exchange student from Germany who has given us some added depth in the front court. She’s one of our taller girls at 5-foot-11.”

In addition, the coach said, Copley is waiting for 5-foot-9 sophomore wing player Myriah Hoffman to return from injury.

“She would be our second-leading returning scorer, but she blew out her ACL [anterior cruciate ligament] over the summer in an AAU tournament,” he said. “She’s already garnered some interest from colleges as far away as Kansas State. We’re hoping to get her back around Jan. 18.”

Anderson said the best word to describe this year’s team is “gutsy.”

“We know we’re out-manned size wise, but we don’t let that influence us,” he said. “The Suburban League is so tough that there’s never an easy night in our league. We always have to work hard, and we are willing to do that.”

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