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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, January 27, 2011

Lady Dutch basketball looks for positives

By Jordan J. Michael

GUILDERLAND –– Frustration and anger can easily set in for a losing team, but those negative feelings aren’t affecting the Lady Dutch because they’re playing hard.

That’s what Head Coach Frank Cacckello said on Tuesday while reflecting on yet another loss, which dropped Guilderland to 1-10. The Dutch went into overtime play against Niskayuna at home on Friday, losing 45 to 42.

Cacckello said that he’s watching his team improve every day. Guilderland finished last season with a 4-12 record.

“Much better basketball is being played as we go along,” said Cacckello on Tuesday. “I see positive attitudes. We don’t like to look at our record because it brings on negative thoughts.”

The Lady Dutch is a young team with one senior, and has had to deal with a number of injuries and illnesses throughout the season. However, Cacckello didn’t want to use those situations as excuses for losing.

“Girls have been playing out of position,” Cacckello said. “We’re trying to play catch-up, but things have thrown us off rhythm. I still have faith though.”

Junior Amanda Kernozek, who scored seven points on Friday, thinks that the team will be better next year. “We try really hard,” she said on Tuesday. “But we’re really young and it can be scary sometimes.”

Guilderland may be showing signs of inexperience, but freshman Shannon Mackesey went toe-to-toe with Niskayuna’s senior standout Ashley McCaughan. Also, sophomore Mallory Harrigan scored 14 points for the Dutch.

“A team that works this hard deserves to win more games; deserves a reward,” said Cacckello. “After Niskayuna, they knew they should have won the game. We don’t step back from opponents. These close games will turn into wins, I know it.”

“Right now, our point guards and shooting guards are doing really well,” Kernozek said. “We need to be stronger in the post.”

Girls from the Guilderland Basketball Club attended Friday night’s game and greeted the varsity players before tip-off. The young girls cheered loudly throughout the entire game and the fourth-graders played a mini-game during halftime. Cacckello believes that this signified a “huge step forward” for the basketball program in Guilderland.

“There was a lot of excitement going around,” Cacckello said. “Nights like that, you leave happy because of the support you received. All those girls are representing Guilderland and it’ll carry over. The varsity players are their role models.”

Looking towards other positive aspects, Cacckello pointed to defense, continuity, focus, and intensity. “They know their responsibilities,” he said. “They’re building the basketball IQ and transferring it to the game play.”

Personally, Cacckello said that he loves coming to practice and loves watching the improvement of his team. “I know it doesn’t show in wins, but we’re improving every day,” he said.

Discouragement comes with losing, always, but Cacckello said, “You can’t dwell on it.” The Lady Dutch will try to use its positive thinking for its four remaining games, eventually leading up to sectionals. Guilderland travels to Burnt Hills tomorrow.

“We want a first-round sectional win,” said Cacckello. “We can get that if we take care of the little things, and they used to be big things. They don’t feel like a 1-10 team. The drive will carry us to be the most improved team in Section II. There’s 11 positive kids and a coach all pulling for that one goal.”

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