E.O. Smith heads into the final stretch of a strong season

By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Storrs - posted Mon., Feb. 4, 2013
Murphy Murad defends the ball against RHAM's Cameron Rishell (left) and Sarah Veilleux. Photos by Melanie Savage.
Murphy Murad defends the ball against RHAM's Cameron Rishell (left) and Sarah Veilleux. Photos by Melanie Savage.

Going into a Feb. 1 game against RHAM, the E.O. Smith Panthers were 13 and 2, having won a previous game against RHAM by a score of 80-74. Looking back at the season, head coach Kirk Murad said that the Panthers had improved quite a bit defensively.

“Earlier in the year we were allowing teams to score too easily in the half court,” said Murad. Speaking of a 48-39 Jan. 17 win against Tolland, he said, it “showed me that all five players on the floor understand that they need to help each other on every possession. That wasn't happening earlier in the year.”

“The key to our success is the players knowing their roles and doing little things, like helping on defense, boxing out, cutting hard to the basket, etc.,” said Murad. Among the players having an impact, the coach said senior Murphy Murad “is having a great year.” Murphy Murad is averaging 18 points and seven assists per game. Also strong is junior guard Holly Worski, who also averages 18 points per game and leads the team in rebounds. “Those two are also our best defenders and lead the team in steals,” said coach Murad.

Freshman guard Isa Peczuh is third on the team, said coach Murad, averaging about eight points per game. “Our style of play fits well with her strengths, as she's athletic, runs the floor well and can hit the three.” Others playing big roles are senior Olivia Worski, juniors Morgan Lawlor and Cristy Vincente, sophomore guard Cathy Aforismo and freshman forward Renee Suchey.

“We need to play solid team defense and look to run, run, run while making a lot of threes in order for us to advance in LL,” said Murad about post-season tournament play.

RHAM handed the Panthers their toughest loss of the season on Feb. 1, with a final score of 66-47. The loss brought E.O. Smith’s record to 13-3, and dropped them into 10th position for the LL Division.

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