Girls have strong leadership
As the new season approaches for the Whitehall girls basketball team, head coach Dwight Repsher is reluctant to put them in a box.
That’s because he’s still unsure exactly what he has and how it will evolve over the course of the season. Sure, he’s got great senior leadership with Alix Buskirk, Ariana Hines, Cheyenne Shook, and Iliana Oliver, but as far as where those upperclassmen and the rest of the roster will be playing on the floor, that question is still fluid and may not be set in stone at all this year.
Buskirk, a guard for most of her tenure as three-year varsity player, may see time at the three spot, said Repsher. Then again, she may be at the four on some occasions depending on what’s thrown at them on the court, allowing Repsher to use that trio of Buskirk, Hines and sophomore Grace Clary gives them “an interesting frontcourt.”
Likewise, sophomore Brianna Smith, a frontcourt scorer last season, may also play multiple spots. That goes for a number of players, giving Repsher the ability to use multiple lineups.
“I think we’re going to be very versatile,” said Repsher who’s entering his fifth season as the head coach.
With a lot of interchangeable parts, Repsher said that they’ll need to get production from a lot of people.
“We’re going to need a lot of kids to contribute,” said Repsher.
Those interchangeable parts include junior Olivia George, who’s shot the ball well this preseason, Cassie Due, who can handle the point, and newcomer Katie Kelly, a sophomore, who will be in that backcourt mix as well.
Smith, who provided a scoring spark off the bench last season, will be joined by newcomer Taryn Sayre, a junior, who is returning to the hardwood after a year break. Jameila Davis, a transfer from North Carolina, will also be part of their interior rotation.
Hines and Clary will also figure into much of their post play this season, and Repsher is still trying to assess who fits where and said it’s applicable to a puzzle as he sees how it’s all going to fit together.
The Zephs will also feature sophomore Kristin Laky who is another piece of the Zephyr puzzle, while Iliana Oliver will be plugged into the frontcourt rotation.
Through it all, Repsher said that he’s encouraged, a phrase he used quite often in his assessment for the preview piece.
He’s been encouraged about their practice habits. He’s also been encouraged because they’re deeper than they have been in a number of years, and he’s encouraged about the overall outlook for the season.
“I’m every bit as encouraged as I was two years ago,” said Repsher, referencing the 2015 squad that won fifteen games.
With that versatile lineup, Repsher also believes that they’ll be more balls going though the net this season.
“We should shoot the ball better than we have in the past,” said Repsher.
While Repsher said the sample size he’s seen so far during practice is relatively small, he’ll have a better gauge once they scrimmage later this week. Still, he said that the girls have been great and eager to get to work.
They finished 7-15 last season and found success late as they lost to Easton, the future district champs, by just six points and then won their last game against Emmaus to give them some positives on which to build heading into this year.
Finally, Repsher said that the landscape in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference has changed with the graduation of some impact players that leaves the division races wide open. He strongly believes someone will emerge from that pack to ascend to the top, and perhaps that someone will be Whitehall.
That’s one more thing that has Repsher encouraged.