Spartan hardcourt girls look their future
Published 6:24 pm, Wednesday, March 26, 2014
The future could be as bright as the player want to make it for Shepaug Valley High School girls' basketball.
Coach Karen Puskas' first tour of duty as bench boss this winter resulted in a 6-14 ledger.
That in istself might not seem impressive.
Yet missing state Class S tournament qualification by just two games with an inexperienced and remarkably young squad seems upon reflection a pretty solid achieved for coach and players.
With nary a senior on board and just two juniors, the Spartans managed to string early-season wins over Litchfield, Gilbert and Abbott Tech, and later in the campaign added repeat victories over those schools.
"They learned to be open to new basketball teachings and coaching," said Puskas, "and weren't afraid to move on from prior year's set ups.
"They embraced new ideas and concepts and were able to manufacturer some wins and good basketball out of it."
Lending thbeir talents to the cause were juniors Kelsey Johnson and Kaitlyn McGrath, sophomores Mallory Bolesta, Bianca Gomez, Caroline Kelly, Sam Moravsky and Molly Thompson, and freshmen Paige Johnson, Claire Lyons, Samantha Patrick and Tia Phon.
The veteran hardcourt mentor has clear vision of what areas the girls need to work in to turn that losing record into a winning season in 2014-15.
"We do need to be less robotic, learn to use our bodies more," she said, "and work on some basic skills like dribbling with our non-dominant hand or fine tuning our options from a triple threat position.
"Picking up a basketball before next November would help us immensely," she noted, cognizant most of Shepaug's athletes also play other sports.
The tiny roster fielded this winter isn't likely to grow much in the next couple of years, but coach Puskas takes the positive approach.
"We were in better ball control, were playing terrific defense and making better decisions on the court at season's end," she remarked. "Of course, more players in the future would help, (but) unfortunately I don't see too much of that on the horizon for a couple years."
"But they say quality is better than quantity," Puskas added.
"So I will play what ever hand is dealt to me, and if quality is the full house winner over quantity, I will take it."
Shepaug girls' basketball might not be challenging for a Berkshire League title next winter, but its coach fully expects the Spartans to be a tough match for its rivals.
"The best thing is that every single player is returning next year when every other team in the Berkshire League is losing several," she pointed out.
"We don't have to start from scratch and can hit the hardwood running."