Homyak, White will lead Lady Indians
MIKE FEIFEL/times news Members of the Lehighton girls basketball team are, front row, from left, Lauren McCullion, Jordyn Homyak and Sam Locher. Middle row, Julianna Evans, Karista Schweizer, Kelcie Smith and Brittany Moyer. Back row, assistant coach Jess McCarroll, assistant coach Andy Homyak, Katie Green, Sheena White, assistant coach Cassarino and head coach Tony Thomas. Also on the team is Kenzi Teno.
Lehighton Coach Tony Thomas can't wait for the season to start.
Despite losing one player to graduation and having two starters from a year ago Emily Day and Vanessa Rimbey not go out for the team because they are pursuing other passions, Thomas is looking to expand on last season's success.
A year ago, the Lady Indians (13-11) reached the postseason for the first time in 11 years, but bowed out of the playoffs quickly.
"We want to build on last year and obviously improve on it," Thomas said. "We had a great start to last year, but lost in the semifinals of the Mountain Valley Conference Tournament and the first round of Districts."
Leading Lehighton this year is playmaker Jordyn Homyak. The junior topped the Indians in scoring last season and looks to improve her play as she starts the second half of her high school career. Besides scoring, she will be the on court leader of the team.
"She holds her composure really well and she keeps everyone else under control," Thomas said.
Sheena White returns for her senior season. As the teams leading rebounder last season, Thomas will be looking for her to score more this year. White's play down low will be pivotal for the success of the Indians.
"I think Sheena is going to be a big key this year with her senior leadership," Thomas said. "She's done things to not only make herself better but her team better."
Homyak and White prove to be a formidable inside-outside combination to attack defenses.
"I expect Jordyn to be doubleteamed a lot this year," Thomas said. "If I can get Jordyn working and we spread the floor out a bit it will give Sheena some room inside to score points."
Another key is how fast the rest of the team molds into their roles. Despite losing talent, Thomas feels his team is deeper than last year.
"I plan on using a deeper rotation than years past," Thomas said.
The team is guard heavy and will use that to its advantage. With other ballhandlers on the floor, opponents will find it taxing to focus on Homyak.
"We can move Jordyn around this year and not have to run point all the time with her,"
To start the season, guards Lauren McCullion and Brittany Moyer will be starting. Forward Kelcie Smith will provide solid minutes on the floor as well as her senior leadership.
As the season progresses, others will find time on the floor.
Eventually, Thomas sees a healthy Karista Schweizer (junior) return from an injury and snag a spot in the starting lineup. Julianna Evans (sophomore) and Sam Locher (freshman) will make contributions from the bench.
Kenzi Teno (junior) and Katie Green (sophomore) will fill the void left by Rimbey under the boards.
By the end of the year, Thomas could even see another freshman, Kassandra Barclay, work her way on the floor.
"Our goal is to make to the MVC final four again and go further in districts," Thomas said.