Tiger girls' basketball team making believers of its fans

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Thompson - posted Mon., Jan. 13, 2014
(L to r) Senior captains Nicole Dion, Elizabeth Coty and Lydia Cortiss lead the team. Photos by D. Coffey.
(L to r) Senior captains Nicole Dion, Elizabeth Coty and Lydia Cortiss lead the team. Photos by D. Coffey.

The Tourtellotte Memorial High School girls’ basketball team is putting last year’s record in the rear view mirror with a strong start to the season. They’ve managed to record seven wins and one loss already, a far cry from last year’s season record of 4-16. Coach Carla Faucher said her players believe in themselves this year.

The Tigers front many of the same players from last year, including three seniors, two juniors and four sophomores. “We had our struggles being young and playing in a tough ECC division,” Faucher said. “Now they are finally realizing their abilities. They believe in themselves. They know they are capable of playing well. Their confidence has grown, and that’s really the big change for us. It shows on the court.”

Seniors Lydia Curtis (forward), Elizabeth Coty (point guard) and Nichole Deon (guard/forward) captain the squad. Faucher expects them to not only lead the team on the floor, but to show the younger players the ropes.  “When we’re working with bigs or guards, I want them to encourage the younger kids. The captains before them did the same thing. That pulls a team together,” she said. “It’s important that they feel welcome, that they feel they belong on the varsity team.”

Her juniors, Allie Ablonde (guard) and Jessica Dodd (forward), have played for Faucher for two years. Dodd and Cortiss give the Tigers a distinct height advantage. Ablonde has been a consistently high scorer for the Tigers. She was named the most outstanding player at the Clipper Classic in December, helping the Tigers come away as tournament champions.

That was one of our goals, Faucher admitted. She’d also like to see the team make it to the state and ECC tournaments. Teams need eight wins to secure a berth in either competition. That’s almost a certainty given their record so early in the season and the depth of their bench.

Sophomores Christina Kopacz, Olivia Padula, Abby Poirier and Libby Jourdan have been able to step in for Faucher. “We can go four deep from bench,” she said. “I’m really happy with my sophomores. It’s nice to be able to substitute someone and not lose that intensity on the floor.”

Kopacz and Padula are starting to understand the toughness it takes and the rebounding required. And Poirier and Jourdan have been playing phenomenally, said Faucher. “We work with them everyday on different moves. We’ve been really fortunate that if one of the big girls gets in foul trouble, I have someone who can step in and be just as aggressive.”

Winning the ECC Small would be wonderful, but Faucher isn’t assuming anything. “We have to continue to play good basketball,” she said. “I think if we can keep improving and get into the state and ECC tournaments, anything else would be frosting on the cake.”

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