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Sizzling Hun Girls' Hoops at 16-1, Aiming to Produce Special Finish

By Bill Alden

It was the kind of road trip that might have been too much of a challenge for the Hun School girls' basketball team in past seasons.

Last Saturday, the Raiders ventured into Jersey City to take on formidable parochial power St. Anthony's on its own turf.

Hun served notice early on that it was not about to be intimidated as it jumped out to a 20-8 first quarter lead. The Raiders spent the rest of the afternoon repelling St. Anthony's on the way to a hard-earned 61-53 triumph.

In reflecting on the trip, Hun head coach Bill Holup maintained that his team got more out of it than just a win. "It was a good experience, driving up to the inner city and playing a tough parochial team," asserted Holup. "They have been to the state parochial tournament the last 10 years. Five years ago, I wouldn't have taken our team on a trip like that."

The Raiders showed their mettle as they held off several rallies by St. Anthony's. "I thought it was a terrific team effort," said Holup. "We looked brilliant at times but we also made some mistakes and turnovers. The girls played really hard, they were diving all over the floor. We got that lead and we never let them come back to tie the game or take the lead."

In Holup's view, his club's effort reflected its special inner toughness. "We're not playing like a typical prep school team, " asserted Holup whose club improved to a glittering 16-1 record with its 66-19 romp over Princeton Day School last Monday. "We showed that we aren't soft or a team that gets by on finesse."

Hun senior star Shantee Darrian also showed that she's not your typical prep player as she poured in a career-high 32 points to pace the Raiders.

"Shantee is so much more comfortable this year," explained Holup of his senior star who is averaging more than 21 points per game. "She was concerned last year about being the new girl. She wanted to make friends and not take too many shots. Now she is playing basketball the way she can."

Raider senior guard Jill Fonseca also raised her game in the win over St. Anthony's as she contributed 10 points and five assists. "I think overall that was the best game Jill has played for us," maintained Holup. "Her defense is always there but she was particularly intense."

Days before the St. Anthony's win, the Raiders had provided another example of their intensity as they pulled away to a 61-44 win over archrival and nemesis Lawrenceville last Wednesday.

"We were a little rusty, we only led by one at the half," recalled Holup, noting that his team had a 12-day layoff due to exams and snow before the contest with the Big Red. "We opened it up in the second half. We've never beaten them by that much."

The Raiders will look to keep on piling up big wins as they play at Solebury School on February 2 and at Hill School on February 5. After that, Hun will be competing in the state Prep A tournament as well as the Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) tourney. They figure to face perennial state and MAPL champion Peddie in one if not both of the post-season tournaments.

Holup, for his part, is confident that his club can raise the level of its game even higher as it faces those challenges.

"We're just working on our game," said Holup. "We're just focusing on getting better. The girls are having fun, they don't feel any pressure. It's the best start we've ever had and we want to finish strong."

If Hun can keep having fun, it could end up going places this winter that it hasn't gone in many years.

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