SEASON PREVIEW: GREENVILLE
Coach Nick White's Lady Trojans had a tough time in a tough league in his first year as head coach. They were 4-20 last season, but the coach looks to turn his team around this year. Kennedy Christian has moved out of Class AA, but Greenville will still have to deal with the likes of Mercer, Reynolds and Wilmington.
"They're a lot more focused than they were a year ago," noted White. "They've played 20 games this summer, including the camps."
One of the biggest holes the coach will have to fill this year is the one vacated by last year's top scorer Brandie Heald. Her 214 points and senior leadership, along with Alissa Haynes' 55 points, will be missed, however, the Lady Trojans have a lot of people coming back, including five seniors.
White plans to start seniors Allison Kuder, 5-7 guard (85 points last season); Rebecca Richardson, 5-9 guard-post (78), Katie Davis, 5-3 guard; and Lane Sarcinella, 5-7 post (89), but Stephanie Sereda, 5-7 guard (122) will also see playing time as coach White says he will go with an eight-person rotation this year. The other probable starter will be 5-11 junior post Lauren Oman.
"I've never seen a team like this before," said White. "The team is so even, we can replace any one of eight kids and not be hurt in any way."
Other juniors who will play varsity include 6-1 post Yemisee Ogunro, 5-5 guard Hilary Boyer, 5-6 guard Laura Ryhal (77), 6-0 post Joran Thompson, 5-11 guard-post Stephanie Francis and 5-6 guard Jamison Olsen.
Ogunro is a first-year player who is, "coming along nicely," and Boyer is back on the hardwood after leaving the game after seventh grade.
"We're very deep," said White. "Any two of my kids can score double-digits on any night. The whole team is stepping it up together."
As well as their league schedule, Greenville will meet pesky MCAC AAA teams Grove City, Slippery Rock, Sharon and Hickory twice, as well as Class A West Middesex and Commodore Perry. Then they will leave Mercer County for the Cochranton Christmas Tournament and games against Class AAA Oil City, Class AA Maplewood and a difficult Class A Conneaut Lake.
"We wanted as good of teams as we could play this year," said White. "Oil City is a very good AAA school."
Coach White comes from experience with good girls basketball in the French Creek Valley Conference, and he says the gap between Mercer County and the FCVC that was wide at one time is quickly closing.
The Lady Trojans plan to run a motion-style offense and a man-to-man defense this year.
"The team is very temperamental," said White. "They've looked great in the scrimmages, but scrimmages are scrimmages, and games are games."
The coach also wanted to praise his assistants, junior varsity coach Mike Murray and assistant varsity coach Fred Kiser, for their hard work.
"Mike and Fred are helping out a lot," he complimented, "and their experience is a real bonus."
With just for teams competing for the playoffs in Class AA, coach White feels his team has a fighting chance.
"In the back of my mind," he said, "I think we may be more of a contender in AA than meets the eye." -- By Herald writer Scott DeJulia
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