In a years time, Point Boro has gone from a senior-heavy team to a team that is fairly young. With that said, many players that earned varsity experience last season will once again be out on the court looking to be leaders this season. One of the key tasks will be finding a way to make up for the productivity of last years senior class.
It is never easy to replace a pair of thousand point scorers like Megan Hughes and Ally Lassen. However, Point Boro will feature four key juniors in Carlie Vetrini, Riley Sexton, Allie Delaney, and Morgan Woods. All four were essential parts of the team as sophomores while Megan Hughes missed significant time with an injury last season. These juniors have plenty of experience from their freshman and sophomore years and were a key part of the teams run to the WOBM Christmas Classic final last season. Natalie Murphy, Sydney Tournquist, Sadi Connors, and Annalise Albarano will also be juniors to watch this season.
“Working together as a team and not getting down on ourselves will be a big part of our success this season,” Riley Sexton said.
Talking to Riley, she explained what kind of team she envisions on the court this season. “I think we are a very athletic team but with us being younger this year, it is important to take our time and set up good shots”.
“I am thinking positive heading into the season,” Allie Delany said. A lot of us have experience but we are also young at the same time. My goal for the season is to get everyone working together. We know in previous years we have relied on Ally Lassen and Megan Hughes but we know that it is up to us now,” Delaney said.
In addition, Allie Delaney talked about what the offense will need to be successful this season.
“I think a lot of it starts with our defense,” Allie explained. “I think if we can get stops and get ourselves ready mentally that will help us a lot. We need to get into a position where we can move the ball up the court,” Delaney said.
Point Boro’s senior class may be limited in numbers, but its presence will certainly be felt throughout the season. Jackie Kluxen, Jenni Ackerman, and Gabby Kinzel will look to guide the younger players both on and off the court this season. After transferring over from Saint Rose two years ago, Jenni Ackerman is looking to make an impact on the floor this season.
“As a senior, I know how important our teamwork is,” Ackerman said. “We know that if we want to win games, our teamwork has to be there and that is where it all starts”.
One Freshman who looks to make a big splash this season is Lila Shaver. She is expected to crack the opening day lineup for Point Boro and add plenty of value to the team as a true point guard. Jenni Ackerman explained the mutual benefit of having a player like Lila Shaver on the team.
“It’s great to see that the underclassman are interested in playing basketball and that they are doing what they need to do to get better,” Ackerman said.
Both Ackerman and Shaver spent a lot of time over the season working on their game. “I saw Lila over the summer at Hoop Group and I was amazed at her skills. It is great knowing that she is only a freshman because she has four great years ahead of her,” Ackerman said.
Having an impact freshman like Shaver is particularly helpful for Point Boro due to an injury to Sophmore Kate Leturgez. With that said, Keturgez is seeing this as an opportunity to help out her teammates. “Giving advice is probably one of the most helpful things that I can do,” Leturgez said.
“I may be injured but sitting on the bench allows me to see the whole court and watch the game from a different perspective,” as Kate mentioned being beneficial to her teammates seeking advice. “Hearing advice from a teammate is easier for players than hearing it from your Coach,” Kate explained.
For now, Kate will serve as motivation for her teammates from the bench hoping that she can come back in time for the end of the season.
Other members of the sophomore class will look to gain valuable experience this season. They are Megan Feehan, Rachel Wisniewski, Isabela Cancel, and Hannah Kasper.
With multiple Sophomores on the team last season, Coach David Drew is eager how that experience will help his players this season.
“It’s one thing to be young, but we are not inexperienced,” Coach Drew mentioned. “We were able to play in the WOBM final last season and we battled all the way to the last week of the season in the division,”.
The goal this season is for those underclassmen to take that next step and mix in with the rest of the team. “You really want to see if the experience we have coming back can break out,” Coach Drew said. “These returners don’t have a Megan Hughes or an Ally Lassen to rely on. It is their time to be on their own,” Drew said.
Drew mentioned how the WOBM tournament was able to help this group coming back. “The WOBM provided this group with four games of tournament basketball. The Christmas tournaments are great for the teams that are there and it was great for us,” Drew mentioned.
With close games against both Donovan Catholic and Manchester, last season Point Boro will look to stay competitive within the division once again.
“Those are always great games,” Riley Sexton explained. “We know from playing them so often what it is going to take to compete with the teams in our division. When it comes to games against these divisional teams it’s all about believing”.
“Those divisional games will be big and we know if we can win some of them we will let people know not to count us out,” Sexton added.
The Panthers are rarely counted out in their efforts to contend within the division and Shore Conference, trying to do so with fresh faces in the lineup this season.