Individual growth the goal for girls' basketball team
By Christian Mysliwiec - Staff Writer
Manchester - posted Fri., Dec. 7, 2012
The Manchester High School girls' basketball team was a powerhouse last year. “We've been very good for a long time. We were 23-4, and lost in the state semis,” said head coach John Reiser. “But, that was a whole different team.”
Of the 11 varsity girls on the team last year, eight of them graduated. That included five starters – and Ashley Perez. Perez was a two-time player of the year and a 2,000-point scorer, the highest scorer in state history. She now attends St. John's University.
With a young group filling the roles left by strong upperclassmen and a local legend, Reiser's expectations are more modest this year. In the past, the team's goal was to win the state championship. “For this group, we just want to get better,” said Reiser. “When you have such a young team, you really see the growth of the individuals improving, and that's very rewarding as a coach. So that's my goal, to watch them grow.”
Reiser is encouraged by the large group of freshmen, who he believes will contribute to the varsity players. “Right now there are five who I see definitely getting playing time right away,” he said. He sees the influx of freshmen as a good sign for years to come.
There is also Trecine Breedlove, who played her sophomore year but not her junior year. Her return “makes a big difference,” said Reiser, as she is expected to be a major contributor. There are no captains on the team, and Reiser prefers to appoint “game captains” when he sees players showing leadership in practice.
“We've got a good group and they're working hard,” he said. “We've had scrimmages against some good teams. We did good, got some nerves out.”
During a practice, the girls make lay-ups and sink set-shots with consistency, and it could very well be that what's considered a rebuilding year by MHS standards will still give other teams a run for their money. Still, Reiser wants to focus on the growing process. “It's going to take some time,” he said.