December 8, 2021

Featuring a Mix of Veterans, Promising Newcomers, Hun Girls’ Hoops Has Pieces in Place for Good Season

STEADY HAHN: Hun School girls’ basketball player Kiera Hahn dribbles the ball last weekend at the Peddie School Invitational Tournament. Senior guard Hahn helped Hun go 1-2 at the event as the Raiders took fourth place. In upcoming action, Hun, now 2-2, plays at Agnes Irwin (Pa.) on December 10 and at Germantown Friends (Pa.) on December 14. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With the Hun School girls’ basketball team adding some talented newcomers to a group of solid returners, it wouldn’t be surprising if it took a while for the squad to develop into a cohesive unit.

Instead, the group has come together in a matter of weeks. “Their personalities are great, they are just a lot of fun to be around,” said Hun head coach Bill Holup, who led Hun to a 5-3 record last winter in a campaign abbreviated by COVID-19 concerns.

“It makes it a lot better when everybody is happy, having fun, competing and learning.”

Last weekend, Hun competed hard at the Peddie School Invitational Tournament, topping St. James (Md.) 66-15 on Friday before losing 68-32 to Séminaire Saint-François (Quebec) on Saturday and falling 63-51 to Pennington on Sunday to take fourth place at the event.

Holup is happy to have post-graduate point guard Erin Maguire join the squad this year, the third sister from the Irish clan to play for the program.

“They are a great family and we are very excited to continue our relationship with the family,” said Holup of Maguire, who scored 21 points and had nine rebounds in the loss to Pennington.

“She can penetrate, she handles the ball. She is extremely unselfish, she will be able to shoot from the perimeter. She has quick hands and quick feet. She is a great leader.”

Senior Kiera Hahn figures to provide leadership and grit for the Raiders.

“It his Kiera’s fourth year with us; she is a co-captain as she was last year,” said Holup.

“She may not necessarily score a lot of points but will guard a forward on defense, will guard a guard on defense, and she will handle the ball. In her freshman year, she drew more charges than any player I have ever seen. She is willing to sacrifice herself out there for the good of the team.”

A trio of sophomores, Anna Schweer, Michaela Pestano, and Ali Leva, give Hun depth at guard.

“Anna has really stepped up a bit, she has really elevated her game from last year,” said Holup.

“She has gained more confidence so that certainly helps us. Michaela and Ali have another year of experience now and are looking to contribute off the bench and be able to help out in the backcourt.”

In the frontcourt, the pair of  junior Sasha Moise and sophomore Lexi Kobryn should make a big contribution.

“Sasha is physical, she will post up, and she has expanded her perimeter game,” said Holup of Moise, who is also serving as a co-captain.

“She is also capable of putting the ball on the floor to help out against pressure defenses. Lexi has another year of experience. There is more confidence with her, she is not shy to take the shot when she is open. She will use her body and be very physical in terms of going after the ball.”

Junior transfer Addy Ruth will add a physical presence in the paint.

“Addy is somebody who just seems to have a knack for the ball rebounding wise and with loose balls,” said Holup, noting that another junior, Nandika Bhargava, will also get minutes at forward.

“She just seems to know where to place herself quite a bit and is also somebody else who is very unselfish. She looks for people cutting when she has got the ball in the post. She has the ability to run around and make post moves as well.”

A pair of promising freshmen Amira Pinkett and Sydney Rivers figure to make an impact this winter.

“Amira has a lot of versatility, she can also help out in the backcourt and has some range in her perimeter game,” said Holup.

“She is not someone who will necessarily just post up, she can definitely come out and handle the ball and play in the backcourt if needed. She does have the ability to attack the basket and run the floor in transition. Sydney is also a forward, she has got a long body and long arms. As she learns more about the game and how to actually use that length of hers, she is somebody who will really give us a lot of contributions offensively and defensively.”

In Holup’s view, the squad’s upbeat attitude could prove to be a critical factor in its success this winter.

“It really comes down to everybody understanding their roles and being able to contribute wherever asked,” said Holup, whose team, now 2-2, plays at Agnes Irwin (Pa.) on December 10 and at Germantown Friends (Pa.) on December 14.

“I think we could have a pretty strong season as long as we stay focused and work together.”