With a roster evenly distributed between six returners and six newcomers, a major focus early on for the Hun School girls’ basketball team is to get everybody on the same page.
“We need to jell between the veterans and the younger players,” said Hun head coach Bill Holup, who guided the Raiders to a 10-11 record last winter. “We always play a tough schedule so we will be thrown into the fire early.”
Holup is looking for senior guards Janelle Mullen and Erica Dwyer to take a lead role in that bonding process.
“We are relying on Mullen and Dwyer to bring everything together,” said Holup.
“Janelle is a three-year player, she transferred in as a sophomore. Erica is a 4-year player. They both have accepted the leadership role in the first couple of scrimmages. Janelle is a little quieter. Erica has really stepped up into that role, pushing the team to be better. Janelle is a D-1 player, she recently signed a letter of intent to St Peter’s. Both are terrific ballhandlers and outside shooters who are able to penetrate and dish.”
Battle-tested junior guards Jess Johnson and Amber Bourke will need to step up.
“Jess is a three-year player and is coming off a great soccer season and has a lot of experience,” said Holup.
“Amber is extremely talented, she is one of the fastest players out there. She just needs to improve her confidence.”
Holup is confident that newcomers, sophomore Julie Fassl, sophomore Mia Cura, freshman Kendall Dandridge, and post-graduate Maiya Rawlinson, can make an impact.
“Julie’s overall effort has been phenomenal, she is getting up the court,” said Holup of Fassl, who played JV ball last winter.
“She asks questions, she wants to understand things. Mia is up from JV; her sister, Bella, played four years for us and graduated last year. She is always wanting to learn, her attitude has been tremendous. Kendall is coming off an extremely successful soccer season. I hope that momentum carries into basketball, she is a great athlete, she is physically stronger than most freshmen. She has good court sense. She is not just running around out there, she knows what she is doing on the court. Maiya is a terrific player from South Jersey. She has athleticism. She gets outside on the wing, she has a pull up jumper. She is long and is able to play good defense. She had knee surgery last spring so we are hoping to have her in January.”
On the inside, sophomore Clare Maloney is developing into a force.
“Clare got a lot of action last year when Johnnah [Johnson] got hurt; I think she started 15 games,” said Holup, whose team has a busy opening week of the season as it was scheduled to host Abington Friends School (Pa.) on December 2 and Friends Central on December 5 before playing at the St. Andrew’s School (Del.) on December 6 and then hosting Lawrenceville on December 9..
“She got thrown into the fire pretty quickly and developed a lot. We are happy to have her back. She gives us great size inside, helps with defense and rebounding. She needs to be ready to catch the ball because Erica and Janelle will be dishing it to her.”
A pair of juniors, Lindsay Ruddy and Alexis Goeke, provide the Raiders with additional height down low.
“Ruddy and Goeke both give us good size,” added Holup. “Ruddy has experience from the JV, she just needs to be a little more aggressive. Alexis is learning the game, she is an extremely good athlete.”
If the pieces come together, it could be a very good winter for Hun. “When we are at 100 percent, we have a lot of talent,” said Holup.
“There is a very positive vibe around the team that I am getting this year. Even if we come up short in some games, I know the effort is going to be there. We are not going to go out and be intimidated by anyone.”