Hun Girls' Hoops Shows Balance In Winning Stuart Tourney Again
By Bill Alden
With the Hun School girls' basketball team featuring a bevy of new faces this winter, junior guard Ica Morales is primed to take more of a leadership role.
"It's my turn to step up and be the point guard, I'm excited about it," said the 5'0 Morales, who played off-guard much of the time in her sophomore season with the Raiders.
"We had some solid seniors who have graduated. Despite lacking the seniority, we still have girls that are really enthusiastic. I think it's really refreshing. I'm having a lot of fun playing with the younger girls."
Morales and her younger mates had some fun last week as they started the season by winning the Stuart Tip-Off Tournament, breezing by the host Tartans 63-34 in the championship game on December 3.
Junior transfer Shantee Darrian led the Raiders in the title game with 15 points while Mary Stinson chipped in 10 and Morales, Biz Fries, Jill Fonseca, and Chelsey Baxter each added six. Darrian and junior forward Nadine Maeser were named to the All-Tournament team.
In winning their second straight Stuart tourney, the Raiders had to overcome a determined Abington Friends in the December 2 opener as they held on to win a 45-43 nailbiter.
Morales believes that the club made some major progress as it defended its crown. "Yesterday we struggled a bit," said Morales, who chipped in five points in Hun's opening round game. "Today the girls wanted it more and wanted to come together. The attitude was great, everybody was unselfish. The ball movement was good, the defense was good."
For Hun head coach Bill Holup, the team's unselfishness was a major positive of its performance at the Stuart event. "The girls were looking for each other," said Holup. "When they do that, we can get some good open shots. I don't think that anybody on the team cares how much they score. That's what we need and it makes us more of a dangerous team."
Holup is looking for Morales to take a lead role in triggering the Hun offense. "Ica is getting more and more experience," said Holup. "She's a smart player with a good shot. She works hard and that's all you can ask."
The play of Darrian and Maeser also pleased Holup. "Shantee had an ankle sprain and it's taken a while for her to get her rhythm back," he added. "She can grab rebounds and put it on the floor. Nadine is a really solid player. She hustles and gets a lot of garbage baskets."
The fifth-year head coach thought his club gave him just about all he could ask for in the first two games of the season. "It was two good games for us," said Holup, whose club will play at Shipley on December 10 and at Rutgers Prep on December 11 before hosting George School on December 13.
"Abington Friends was a real tough game. I thought it went a long way for us in terms of building character, to be able to weather a storm and win a close game against a good team. We're more athletic than we've been in the past. The pace of the game was to our advantage."
Morales, for her part, believes Hun will be picking up the pace as the season goes on. "We definitely want to build on this, I think it was a good building block," asserted Morales.
"My standards for this team are very high. I think the team will be really successful as long as we keep improving every game."