Young Andes girls basketball squad learning the game

By John Bernhardt

Courtney Hoyt, the new Andes girls’ basketball coach, comes from good basketball pedigree. Hoyt’s 2006 Downsville Eagles high school basketball team made it all the way to the New York State finals in her junior year.

The Downsville graduate climbed the coaching ladder at her alma mater, working as the assistant modified coach for a season, elevating to the head junior varsity coach the following year, and guiding the Eagles’ varsity last winter. The Downsville/Roscoe merger swept Hoyt away when a coach from Roscoe with more seniority claimed the varsity coaching spot this fall.
At Andes, Hoyt inherits arguably the youngest and least experienced team in the Delaware League.

Working on the game
“We’re learning to play together, learning some basketball and having a lot of fun,” said the first-year coach in describing her team’s preseason.

Hoyt will be counting on the all-around play of senior Shianne Coss. Coss, a fourth-year Mountaineer is fast, versatile, and athletic and can play the one through four spots on the floor. A great leaper, Coss rebounds well and can run forever, something Hoyt feels is a huge asset on a team with only eight girls. “Shianne is one of our most comfortable ball handlers, our top player making steals,” noted Hoyt.

Another senior, Jordan Day, will be working from the inside around the basket. A strong rebounder, Day can set a good screen, and Hoyt would like to run more offense through her senior center.
Cassandra Storey, a junior guard, is one of the hardest workers on the team. “Cassandra never gives up. She never quits or stops trying,” said Hoyt. Ball skills and advancing the ball is one of Hoyt’s major preseason concerns, and she expects Storey to be one of several girls who will share that responsibility.

Rebecca Cole, another junior, adds some depth at the forward spot.

Sophomores are key
Hoyt is pleased with the work habits of three sophomores. Cheyenne Weaver, who played varsity last year as a freshman, is the best inside finisher on the team. The versatile sophomore is an eager learner who could see time in any position, point guard through strong forward.

Great listening skills and a willingness to immediately incorporate coaching suggestions into her game excites Hoyt about the play of another sophomore, Adriel Grapes. “Adriel’s ability to focus and her willingness to attempt new ideas have accelerated her learning,” explains Hoyt. Hoyt likes the way Grapes takes the ball to the basket and runs ahead on a fast break.

Tall and lean, sophomore Allison Day is playing varsity basketball for the first time. Day is working hard to adapt to the increased speed and intensity of the varsity game.

Freshman Taylor Day, the point guard on last year’s modified team, rounds out the roster. Smart and athletic, Day is working with Hoyt to improve her guard skills and the new coach hopes her newcomer can become one of the group of girls helping to advance the ball in the offense.

With only eight players on the team, Hoyt has targeted improved defensive play as a top priority. With the new emphasis on calling fouls for hand checking, Hoyt understands her roster lacks the depth to absorb unnecessary fouling.

Andes opened its season last night at home against Windham with game results received too late to be included in this week’s edition of the Catskill Mountain News.