Returning players key to MCS girls hoop season

By John Bernhardt
If experience is a foundation to build upon, then Margaretville Coach Kyle Holden can begin building the Blue Devils’ basketball house.  Holden returns seven players, three who started, from last season’s 8-10 team.  Good size, bench depth and quality previous experience has Holden and his Blue Devils thinking big this year.

Junior Annette Hogan returns at the two-guard for her third season.  Hogan is a solid offensive player who led Margaretville in scoring in almost half of the Blue Devils’ contests last year.  The junior guard can penetrate the lane and knocks down an open jumper.  “Annette loves basketball,” Holden explained.  “She’s a hard worker who dedicated the summer to improving her ball handling and going to the left.  We’re expecting big things from her this winter.”

Returning strength
Senior Raeann Bond started at the power forward spot last season.  Strong and athletic, Bond is a solid defender who rebounds well and can hit a 12-to-15 foot jumper.  Holden wants his power forward to be more active offensively this year.

Back for her third season, senior Tess Svoboda is a triple threat.  Svoboda, who started her junior season working at the post, evolved into a perimeter threat as the season unfolded.  Assertive and decisive on the floor, Svoboda turns defensive opportunities into offensive baskets, can bury an open outside shot, and is a defensive stopper.

Adding depth at the guard slot is another senior, Alexis Molnar.  “Alexis can hit the jumper when it presents itself and is not afraid to go to the floor for a loose ball,” Holden praised.

Senior Kellsey Buerge will take over the reins as the point guard.  Buerge is working hard on ball control and tempo as she runs the offensive show.  “Kellsey has and eye for the basket and can put the ball on the floor getting to the tin,” said Holden.

Seniors Felicia Falco and Meg McKenna return.  Falco will handle duties at the power forward/center spot.  Strong around the basket, Falco is not afraid of contact in the lane and can be a ferocious rebounder.  Tall, long, and athletic, McKenna is a fierce inside defender who challenges and alters shots around the hoop.

Four juniors move to the varsity from last year’s Delaware League Upper Division championship team.  Center Sami Hunt is an imposing presence in the three-second lane.  A strong offensive rebounder, Hunt is making gains with put backs and outlet passing during the preseason.  “Sami plays big on defense and was a great shot blocker for the JV team last year,” explained Holden. 

Help from JV team
Last year’s JV point guard, Kate Short will back up Buerge at that position this winter.  Short handles the ball well and can move the ball in both directions.  A good outside shooter, Short will see some time on the floor as a shooting guard.

Issis Orrego gets her first crack at the varsity level and is working hard to adapt to the increased speed of varsity play.  A hustler who never gives up, Orrego is making strides in the preseason.

Returning to the game after a two-year absence is Cecilia Galatioto.  Holden anticipated using Galatioto at the post but has been impressed with her ability to find an open teammate from the wing.

Holden and his Blue Devils are determined to play each game this winter for the full 32 minutes without letdowns.  “We’re well aware that mental lapses cost us making the Sectionals last season,” emphasized Holden.  “We need to value every possession and limit our turnovers this year.  If we play smart and play with unity we can make some noise,” he added.

So far during the preseason Holden likes his team’s tough defensive minded attitude.  “We’re trying to use our size and athleticism to create opportunities.  When we do we are much better in transition,” finished Holden.