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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, November 26, 2009

Lady Bulldogs needs offense to back up its strong defense

By Jordan J. Michael

BERNE –– The Berne-Knox-Westerlo girls’ basketball team is switching back to a defensive formula after losing 95 percent of its scoring from last year.

Scoring machine Andrea Van Dyke and the rest of Bulldog starting lineup moved on to college and left the current girls plenty of room for opportunity and growth. Returning to the roster are lone senior Kristin Depeaux and juniors Samantha Harvey, Marian Bates, and Tuesday Bishop.

“We did loose a lot of offense, but that happens in high school sports all the time,” said Head Coach Tom Galvin before Monday’s practice. He’s entering his 15th season with BKW. “Our defense is looking really good though. We’re struggling to put the ball into the net, but it should come eventually.”

New to the team are juniors Nena Ruiz, Tiara Conklin, Emily Mahoney, and Victoria McCormick; sophomores Jean Farnam and Christina North; and freshman Liz Harvey, Samantha’s younger sister.

Depeaux, the only senior for the Bulldogs, is trying to take the new players under her wing. “We want to make sure everyone’s working hard all the time because the varsity game is much faster,” she said. “Having a young team can be a disadvantage, but we’ll try to combat it. We have plenty of athleticism and talent.”

Nine of the 11 players play other sports, and Depeaux, Sam Harvey, Bates, Bishop, McCormick, and Liz Harvey are fresh off a season with the varsity soccer team.

“The team chemistry is better for basketball because practice isn’t right after school like with soccer,” Depeaux said. “We enjoy each other’s company more and it’s nice to already be in shape from playing soccer.”

High standards

BKW had a 12-9 record last season and won the Western Athletic Conference South title. Unfortunately, the team lost its first round Class CC playoff game, 62-42, at home, to Hoosick Falls.

“It was a very disappointing end, but it is what it is,” said Galvin. The Bulldogs have moved into Class C for 2009-10. “Class C is a less difficult road for sectionals, so that’s promising. Hopefully my four players from last year learned something from that game.”

BKW has a little more size than in the past, but Galvin knows he’ll need to be patient with the young team. “Patience is a big issue, but these kids make it easy,” he said. “Fundamentals and basics go a long way and we’ll work on those. It’s a simple game.”

The Lady Bulldogs don’t have any proven scorers, but Bates, Sam Harvey, and Liz Harvey have shown some promise in scrimmages against Voorheesville, Mohonasen, and Greenville.

“We’re trying to find offensive structure by taking plenty of shots,” said Galvin.

Monday’s practice was based on offense. The team will move to defense on Tuesday.

“We’re defense oriented right now and everything starts with that,” Galvin said. “We’ll press the floor, rebound, and box out as much as possible. Defense can win games and it’s worked for us in the past. We’ll just pick up where we left off.”

BKW won’t be playing in a Thanksgiving tournament this year due to the game cutbacks statewide. That gives the team more time to prepare for its first game on Dec. 4 in Fort Plain.

“I’ve been more calm than usual this year,” said Galvin. “Maybe that’s because we have no expectations.”

Basketball is a lot more important to BKW than it was when Galvin started coaching 15 years ago. The surrounding community holds the team in high regard.

“I think these girls can surprise the league,” Galvin said. “They’ve recharged my batteries. The season drags, but I want to be in the gym to watch them improve.”

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