Bill Holup was brimming with optimism about his Hun School girls’ basketball team as he looked ahead to the winter.
“Going into the season I was expecting some big things,” said longtime Hun head coach Holup. “I thought we would win 15 or 16 games.”
But with senior star center and Robert Morris University-bound Johnnah Johnson injuring her knee in December and missing 12 games, the Raiders had to battle to keep their heads above water, finishing the winter at 10-11.
“I am really not disappointed with 10-11,” said Holup. “The girls stuck together and we did as well as we could under the circumstances. I know that success is measured by the wins and losses but based on the effort and how they stuck together, I look at this season as a success.”
Hun ended the season battling hard in a 72-50 loss to Blair in the state Prep A semifinals.
“It was a one-point game with 1½ minutes left in the first half, our game plan was going well,” recalled Holup.
“Unfortunately a few things went Blair’s way, they hit a three and they were up six or seven points at the half. We knew we were going to get a punch from Blair in the second half, we talked about that at halftime. We did get a punch and we weren’t able to withstand it. We called a couple of timeouts but we couldn’t get back into it. We put up a fight. Blair had to play well to beat us. We made a terrific effort.”
Johnson ended up enjoying a terrific career, getting back on the court in the last week of the season to help the Raiders advance to the Mid-Atlantic Prep League semifinals.
“It was nice to see her come back and get 1,000 points,” said Holup. “It was a tough loss when she went out. She is a D-I basketball player. Offensively and defensively she was imposing in the post, starting with her freshman year.”
It will be tough for Hun to do without senior Erica Brown next winter. “Erica came in as a junior and she is going to be extremely difficult to replace; just her personality, she is always fun to be around,” said Holup.
“You could count on her to raise the girls’ confidence. On court, she could guard guards and guard forwards. She could rebound and take it up the court.”
Hun got a nice contribution in the backcourt from two four-year performers, Anajha Burnett and Bella Cura.
“Naj will be missed; she was someone who gave us time off the bench in her first three years and started when we needed,” said Holup.
“This year she was a starter and did any role we asked. Bella is a three-sport athlete. She didn’t get major minutes but she was a terrific player to have on the team with her athleticism, spirit, and positivity.”
Hun’s core of returning players, juniors Erica Dwyer and Janelle Mullen, sophomores Amber Bourke and Jess Johnson, and freshman Clare Moloney, have the potential to do a lot of positive things next winter.
“They are just hardworking individuals,” asserted Holup. “All of them improved and that is what you want. They love the sport and they love being on the court. I am looking forward to next year.”