|[Home Page] [This Week] [Classifieds] [Legals] [Obituaries] [Newsstands] [Subscriptions] [Advertising] [Deadlines] [About Us] [FAQ] [Archives] [Community Links] [Contact Us]
Sports Archives The Altamont Enterprise, November 26, 2009
Lady Dutch basketball team is ready to resume pressing play
By Jordan J. Michael
GUILDERLAND In preparation for the new basketball season, Lady Dutch Head Coach Frank Cacckello did some re-evaluating.
“I looked at the development of every level and realized that these girls may have been missing something,” said Cacckello before last Thursday’s practice. “This basketball program started as a pressing team and were looking at becoming one once again.”
By going back to a pressing style, Guilderland can now control the way the game is played. “We’re now in a position to dictate, instead of having to play our opponents’ game,” Cacckello said. “Other teams will have to handle our pressure.”
Most importantly, a team needs depth if it wants to press the floor and dictate the game. “I’m looking at running nine to 10 kids at a time,” said Cacckello. “We’re already looking a lot more athletic and that’s what we need to be a pressing team.”
Ten of the 12 girls on this year’s roster play at least two sports for the Dutch. Returning to the lineup are seniors Kat Keegan, Chelsea Weston, Alyssa Martin, Melissa Winnie, Erin Kelly, and junior Erin Mossop.
“We want to play better from start to finish this time around,” said Winnie. “There’s a new chemistry in the gym after working so hard in the off-season. It has been a lot of fun.”
New to the roster are junior Liz Tapler and sophomores Cristal Benton, Amanda Kernozek, Kim Weinberg, Kelly Van Epps, and Kasey Dunbar. Cacckello has never had so many sophomores on the team at one time.
“I can’t say that we’re inexperienced because we have plenty of seniors that already logged a lot of minutes,” said Cacckello. “The seniors have been working well with the sophomores by showing them our plan. They understand the ups and downs of a season and they’re passing it down. It’s creating a level of excitement.”
The Lady Dutch ended the 2008-09 campaign with an 11-11 record, but the team finished strong with an upset victory over Bishop Maginn in the first round of the Class AA playoffs.
“That record didn’t indicate how well we played,” Cacckello said. Guilderland plays in a very competitive Suburban Council. “Everything prepared us for that win over Maginn, but we were one step away from our goal.”
That goal was, and still is, a trip to Hudson Valley Community College for the sectional finals. The Dutch were last there in 2007. “We need to improve our seed this year,” said Cacckello. “It puts us in a better position and I think all these girls are ultimately behind that idea.”
Another part of Cacckello’s re-evaluation was a focus on “one big defensive philosophy.” He stresses fundamentals and defense as the most important. “We can’t afford to have a bad defensive night because it’s something we can always control,” Cacckello said.
Guilderland is also being pushed harder in practice because, Cacckello said, endurance was “lacking” in previous years. “It will lead to more productive play,” he said.
The Lady Dutch will be doing some charity work during the holidays and will travel to Johnson City for a tournament this weekend. The team’s first regular season game is Dec. 1 at Mohonasen.
“It’s not all about the games,” said Cacckello. “You need fun, balanced activities to keep the team chemistry high. That’ll be easy because these girls already have phenomenal chemistry.”
Cacckello wants people who haven’t watched a girls’ basketball game to come out because the game has changed. “We have some of the best athletes in the school,” he said. “This game has gotten a lot faster.”
Call it a new start for the Lady Dutch.
“Everything needed to change,” Cacckello said. “Just showing up won’t win us games anymore.”