Harley Guzman took some lumps last winter in her freshman season with the Stuart Country Day School basketball team as she assumed the point guard role.
“Last year, it was my first year playing on a high school team and it was really stressful, especially playing harder teams,” said Guzman.
After working on her ball-handling in the offseason, Guzman is feeling a comfort level this winter in running the Stuart offense.
“This year, I changed my mindset,” said Guzman. “I feel more confident with the ball this year.”
Last Friday, Guzman displayed her newfound confidence, starring as Stuart rolled to a 39-14 win over Villa Victoria.
“We just really knew what we were doing,” said Guzman. “Yesterday at practice we were really working on our plays and perfecting them so it really showed in tonight’s game.”
In addition to helping Stuart execute its plays, Guzman contributed 10 points, including two 3-pointers.
“That’s mostly due to the really good picks that my teammates were setting for me,” said Guzman. “They gave me a clear shot.”
Stuart head coach Dana Leary appreciated her team’s good effort against Villa Victoria as it improved to 7-5.
“I think we are really coming together as a team, offensively and defensively,” said Leary.
“The girls seem more confident when they are out on the court. We are executing and I would say that we are really progressing as team from the start of the season to now. You can definitely tell the difference.”
In Leary’s view, Guzman’s play has made a big difference for the Tartans.
“Harley really holds our team together offensively running the point,”
“That is a hard position and she is a leader on the floor for us. She is our floor leader. She has the ability to run the offense and hit big shots when we need them.”
Junior forward Harlyn Bell and senior center Maggie Walsh also made some big shots in the win over Villa Victoria.
“Harlyn is much more aggressive; she has been stepping up for us the last few games,” said Leary.
“She is looking to attack the basket more; she is looking for her shot. Maggie always works hard inside. Tonight she did a great job rebounding offensively with the put backs, following the shots.”
The team’s hard work collectively is paying dividends. “I am happy with our overall record,” said Leary, whose team is slated to play at Hightstown on February 5 before hosting Kings Christian School on February 6.
“As a team we are progressing. Next week we have three games and then Sunday we have the Prep B quarterfinals. We are just continuously preparing for the next game and what’s ahead of us.”
Guzman, for her part, sees good things ahead for the Tartans. “I just feel like we work better together,” said Guzman.
“Last year, we got frustrated more often. We are all friends here; we are more comfortable with each other. We are around the same age because we are a younger team.”