Ta­lented guards to lead women

Alpine Observer - - Sport -

By JUSTIN JENVEY

WITH last year’s core re­turn­ing and ri­val teams los­ing key per­son­nel, Myrtle­ford has its eyes set on play­ing fi­nals in the women’s com­pe­ti­tion in 2018/19.

Af­ter nar­rowly miss­ing out on a post-sea­son berth in their in­au­gu­ral sea­son, coach Les Stevens be­lieves his side is ca­pa­ble of a high fin­ish in year two.

“It’s a re­ally good squad, we’re not as tall as we were last year but we have the core group back, ev­ery­one un­der­stands one an­other and are re­ally happy to­gether so I think we can go places,” he said.

The Saints women have lost a vet­eran pres­ence in­side in Re­becca Pi­azza who was one of the team’s most im­por­tant play­ers last sea­son de­spite miss­ing mul­ti­ple games through in­jury.

They’ve also had to re­place re­serve for­wards, but Stevens is con­fi­dent the com­bi­na­tion of Amie An­tonello and in­com­ing power for­ward Ce­les­tine Ellen can do the ma­jor of dirty work in the paint.

“Ce­les­tine hasn’t played much bas­ket­ball be­fore but has come a long way in train­ing and with Amie we ex­pect those two to do a power of work around the bas­ket,” Stevens said.

“In the other for­ward spots, we have a bit of ath­leti­cism with Jas­mine Cer­mi­nara and should get a lot more out of Tianna Hughes too.

With a bevy of ca­pa­ble guards, Myrtle­ford’s strength will again be at the one and two po­si­tions with Paige Zam­per­oni lead­ing a group that in­cludes her sis­ter Abbey, Rac­quel Stevens and three-point sharp shooter Grace McKer­ral.

Stevens also ex­pects the team’s three de­vel­op­ment play­ers Molly Brock, Emily Cos­sor and Zahra Pitts to see sig­nif­i­cant game time dur­ing their first sea­sons.

“We do have a hand­ful of guards that can han­dle the ball and shoot so we have lots of op­tions there, but we’re also try­ing to get ev­ery­one to shoot the ball,” Stevens said.

“We’ve been work­ing on tough­en­ing the girls up and be­ing a bit more ac­tive and ag­gres­sive in de­fence so hope­fully we can bring that in­ten­sity and be able to adapt to each game sit­u­a­tion.”

READY TO FIRE: Jas­mine Cer­mi­nara, Raquel Stevens and Tianna Hughes will all play im­por­tant roles for Myrtle­ford.

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