December 7, 2016

Bolstered by Influx of Talented Newcomers, Hun Girls’ Hoops Aiming to Be Competitive

BOUNCING BACK: Hun School girls’ basketball player Leah Sutphen heads to the basket in a game last season. Sophomore forward Sutphen figures to be a key weapon in the front court for the Raiders this winter as they look to bounce back from going 1-22 last year. Last Friday, Sutphen scored six points in a losing cause as Hun fell 54-46 to Friends Central (Pa.) The Raiders, who moved to 1-1 with the defeat, host Agnes Irwin School (Pa.) on December 8 and the Baldwin School (Pa.) on December 10. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Having suffered through a rough winter last year with a depleted squad, an influx of new faces has lifted the mood around the Hun School girls’ basketball team.

“Our numbers are higher overall; we had a lot more girls interested in coming out for basketball,” said Hun head coach Bill Holup, whose team went 1-22 last season.

“Having more players out there has transformed the whole atmosphere. The kids are all very personable with one another right now. The spirit is very high. The returning girls see that some of the new girls that are here have some more skills than what we saw last year.”

Hun got some skill from overseas in post-graduate guard Anna Maguire, who hails from Northern Ireland.

“She plays the point guard position for us; she is extremely unselfish,” said Holup of co-captain Maguire, who had eight points and five assists as Hun opened the season with a 37-20 win over Germantown Friends (Pa.) last Wednesday.

“At times we need her to be more selfish; she is looking to distribute the ball but she has a terrific shot and is able to make things happen. She is one of those type of players who makes everyone else a little better around her because she gets everybody involved.”

Two other newcomers, sophomore transfer Jada Jones and freshman Nicole Angelini, figure to make things happen in the backcourt for the Raiders.

“Jada is a sophomore transfer from Randolph High School in northern Jersey,” said Holup.

“She comes to us with varsity experience already; she played a considerable amount as a freshman. She is helping us out at both the guard and forward positions. There is also Nicole Angelini who played on the soccer team; she is a very pleasant surprise. I didn’t know much about her as a basketball player because soccer is her primary sport. Her basketball IQ and skills are very high so she will help us out considerably.”

Holup is looking for a pair of seniors, co-captain Julie Fassl and Mia Cura, to display their hoops IQ this winter.

“Julie is actually more of wing player, she will play both guard as well as a forward depending on what our needs are,” said Holup.

“She will do whatever we need and give 110 percent every time regardless of where she is at. Mia is strictly a guard; this is her fourth year with the program. She is experienced and is a very good shooter. She just needs to continue to be more aggressive and not shy away from taking that shot when she is open.”

In the front court, Hun will be featuring sophomore Leah Sutphen, freshman Alexis Harvell, and senior C.J. Mozeika.

“We have got Leah Sutphen from last year,” said Holup. “We have a young player, Alexis Harvell, who is 5’11 and gives us a little more size than what we had last year because Leah was pretty much our height last year. C.J. Mozeika is returning and she has some size as well. This is her second year with the program so she has a lot more experience as well in the front court.”

With his team having matched its win total from last year in the first week of the season as it is 1-1, Holup is cautiously optimistic about the impact of the influx of talented newcomers.

“Hopefully it will translate into more competitive games for us,” said Holup. “It will take some time to rebuild from where we were a few years ago.”

In order to build something special this winter, the Raiders need to make tough defense their calling card.

“I think a lot of it has to start with our defense,” asserted Holup, whose team hosts Agnes Irwin School (Pa.) on December 8 and the Baldwin School (Pa.) on December 10.

“Last year, we just didn’t have any go-to shooters. This year we do have people who can really shoot the ball and get hot but if they are not hot, we really need to start things with our defense. We always need to have that helping us; that has to be a constant. If we get some steals and stops, hopefully that will translate into easy buckets and a high percentage of shots.”