By Matt Parrino
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — Success usually breeds confidence, at least that’s what Tonawanda girls basketball coach Jay Hall is hoping. His Warriors won the school’s first ever ECIC IV regular season championship last season, but they lost their leading lady, Tina Partridge, and are now in the process of finding a new identity.
”We’re loosing a lot of our height,” Hall said. “We have to rebuild and we have to be a different team. We’re going to push it up and down the court and look to press.”
Back at the helm of the Warriors this season is junior guard Alanna Herne, who averaged 5.4 points and 2.6 assists per game last season. A floor general, she is a player that controls the offense and puts others in a position to get open looks.
Hall said Herne, a 2011-12 All-News first team selection, can do anything out on the court.
“As she goes we go, because she handles the ball most of the time,” he said. “She has a good shot, she can drive and she’s a good passer. She’s the key offensively because she sets up our offense and gets us into a rhythm.”
Hall said the team’s main objective is to avoid a drop off after last season. The Warriors may have lost four seniors (Partridge, Kendra O’Connor, Heather Heim and Jessica Amico), but they plan to still compete for a league crown.
Junior Kalyn Compeau joins Herne in the backcourt, and the two speedy guards plan to make life taxing for opposing defenses. When Hall has that duo, along with sophomore guard Haley Snyder, in the game, “not many teams are going to be able to stay with us,” he said.
Rounding out the Tonawanda starting lineup will be junior Savanna Baughman at center, senior Joanna McCarthy at forward and one of two seniors: Ashley Kowalcyk or Alex Moore. Hall said he is expecting McCarthy to pick up some of the scoring load Partridge, who averaged nine points per game, left behind. The Warriors will certainly miss her 11.1 rebounds per game as well.
In a recent scrimmage, Hall said that his two team captains (Herne and McCarthy) approached him after the team turned in a flat and uninspired performance. While he didn’t like the effort his team gave, he did like the way players responded.
“Alanna and Joanna came up to me and said that (the team’s play) was unacceptable,” he said. “So we talked about it in the locker room and they made a nice speech. Some of the kids know what it feels like to be a champion. I’m looking for the people that played last year to really take charge and show the newer kids what they have to do.”
Hall expects to use nine or 10 players consistently this season and is confident that his bench will be an asset all year. He said the team is a work in progress but that it will be ready by the time its division schedule begins.
“We’re going to start out slow because we’re playing totally different. We’re going from a team with two 6-footers pounding the ball inside, to a 5-foot-10 center and running the ball up and down the court,” Hall said. “We’re still learning and it’s a work in progress, but come our first game in December we’ll be ready.”2012 THS GIRLS HOOPS SCHEDULE Nov. 30 at Roy-Hart 7 p.m Dec. 1 at Roy-Hart Tourney TBD Dec. 13 at Holland 6:30 p.m. Dec. 17 JFK 7 p.m. Dec. 18 at Barker 6:30 p.m. Dec. 20 at Eden 7 p.m. Dec. 27 North Tonawanda 7 p.m. Jan. 3 Hutch Tech 7 p.m. Jan. 8 at Cleveland Hill 6:30 p.m. Jan. 10 Lackawanna 7 p.m. Jan. 14 at Alden 7 p.m. Jan. 18 Holland 7 p.m. Jan. 28 Eden 7 p.m. Jan. 30 JFK 7 p.m. Feb. 5 Cleveland Hill 7 p.m. Feb. 7 at Lackawanna 6:30 p.m. Feb. 12 Alden 7 p.m.