MHS girls are ready to shoot some hoops
By Martha Marteney - Staff Writer
Manchester - posted Thu., Dec. 1, 2011
“We pretty much have the same team as last year,” said Manchester High School girls’ basketball coach John Reiser. And that’s a good thing. Last year, the team of mostly juniors went to the Division LL tournament quarterfinals, where they lost to Glastonbury. MHS finished last year's season with a 22-3 record – with losses only to Glastonbury.
“I think we’re going to be pretty successful,” said senior tri-captain Ashley Perez. Last year’s leading scorer, with impressive statistics in several categories, Perez has signed a letter of intent to play at St. John’s University on a basketball scholarship. “I think we have a really good chance of being best in the state,” she said. Perez played basketball off-season and lifted weights. “I’m excited to see it pay off this season,” she said.
Jumping right into the short season, the athletes started three-hour-nightly practices Thanksgiving week in order to prepare for the Dec. 7 start of the basketball season. With nearly all returning players, Reiser said the team was ahead of schedule, giving them time to work on tougher drills.
“We’re not a big team,” noted Reiser about the height of his athletes. He is working with the players to improve their rebounding skills. “Defensively, we’re better this year,” he said.
“Our defense is crucial this year,” agreed senior tri-captain Arianna Rivera. Having taken first place in the 2011 Class LL outdoor track 100- and 300-meter hurdles, Rivera is looking forward to being back on the basketball court. “I’m just a team player,” she said. “They push me to work harder.”
After the first away game against Northwest Catholic on Dec. 7, the team takes on Windsor on Dec. 9, E.O. Smith on Dec. 13 and Glastonbury on Dec. 19 - all home games.
Regarding the match-up against Glastonbury, tri-captain Megan Cardarelli said, “We’re coming at them this year.” Cardarelli said the team chemistry is already strong because everyone knows each other and they have played together for several years. “I’ve always known basketball as a way of life,” she said. Cardarelli was also captain of the volleyball team, where she learned to better take on the leadership role.
A newcomer to the team is senior Keirstyn Daniels, a transfer student from California. Her family moved to the area after her brother, DeAndre, signed to play for the University of Connecticut men’s basketball team.