Seniorless girls begin season
When assessing the upcoming girls basketball season, one glaring fact stands out as the Zephyrs embark on their new campaign.
They have no seniors on their roster and that may be seen as a disadvantage.
However, first-year head coach Dwight Repsher prefers putting a positive spin on the situation, noting that while they're without any seniors on the team, the opportunity for the underclassmen to get significant playing time bodes well for the future.
"It almost depends on whether you look at it long term or short term," said Repsher. "The upside is that you get to work with the young kids."
The Zephs will feature a lot of young players, the bulk of who are sophomores. In that class is Taylor George, their returning point guard. George started as a freshman and knows how to run an offense. She will be called upon this year to guide them as they battle their way in the always-tough Lehigh Valley Conference.
"Having Taylor back, who started last year, is a good thing," said Repsher.
Returning is also junior Karly Klein. Klein will be at the big forward position and brings a lot of experience to the court.
Also returning is sophomore Ivanna Jones who was a part-time starter last season. Repsher said that Jones will be at small forward.
Those three will form the foundation upon which this season will be built for the Zephs.
In addition to this trio, Whitehall will also look to juniors Natalie Saraceni, (forward), Taylor Hamscher (guard/forward), and LeAnna Cruz (forward) for valuable depth and experience.
This group will also be called upon to lend leadership to a young team. Repsher said that he'll need "someone to step up" and assume that responsibility.
"They're the ones with the most experience," Repsher said. "I hope they step up and take a leadership role."
They'll also feature a number of newcomers among their sophomore ranks, including Jillian Rex, Jillian Kreglow and Ashley Barber.
Repsher said that Rex will play guard, while Kreglow will see time at forward. Barber, a transfer from Allentown Central Catholic High School, will anchor the middle for the Zephs.
Finally, freshman Kylee Cunningham will split time at point guard and shooting guard, giving them minutes at both positions.
With such a young and inexperienced roster, Repsher said their line-up will be fluid, noting that they'll adjust their starting five as they get more familiar with one another and their roles.
"With us being so young, it's not like we have a set line-up," said Repsher. "It will get tweaked game by game."
While they've begun the season 0-2, losing to Northwestern High School (31-20) and Freedom High School (35-25), Repsher is pleased with their defensive effort. He said they played well, especially against the Patriots on Saturday night, but just missed some shots.
In the Freedom game, Saraceni led the Zephs with seven points, while George added six.
All in all, Repsher said that the Zephs are responding to what's being taught every day at practice. He can see that improvement, noting they've been correcting their mistakes at this early stage. He knows that it's going to take time.
"With everything being new, and them being young, it's going to be a process," Repsher said.
Repsher said that the LVC will be competitive once again as teams look to position themselves for the playoffs. He said that Whitehall's not alone in going through a transition period, and expects them to get better as the season progresses.