Lady Bombers look for balanced attack
RICH GEORGE/Special to THE TIMES NEWS Palmerton's girls basketball team will be made up of: Kneeling, from left, Lndsay Nemeth, Gabrielle Alban, Janel Tracy, Morgan Hadinger, Mikayla Krupa and Julia Paulinho. Standing, same order, head coach Don Delich, Joelle Reinhart, Emelie Meinhart, Madison Mummey, Lauryn Solt, Jade Farquhar, Morgan Mummey, Abby Reimer and Steph Buck (manager).
Over the past couple of season's, Palmerton girls basketball head coach Don Delich had a standout athlete in Kelsey Hay to build his program around.
That isn't the case this season, with Hay, who ended her career with 1,350 points, off to the Univesity of Pennsylvania to continue her education and track career.
Instead Delich welcomes back three starters who were a big part of the team that went 14-10 before losing to Central Catholic in the District 11 quarterfinals.
"We lost two real key players," said Delich when reflecting on last season. :"Kelsey (Hay) was everything on the offensive end. She led the team in scoring, rebounding, assists and blocked shots. She was a coach on the court and replacing her is not going to be done by one player.
"Jen Snyder is almost as big a loss since she was our best defender, she was our physical presence inside, a real good rebounder, so replacing her will be hard as well."
Also gone are role players Michelle Rickert, Sarah Graver and Kelsey Eaton who worked hard at practice to make the team better.
Through his 10-year tenure, Delich never takes the rebuilding approach. He likes to think of it more just as reloading.
He has a couple of role players from last year's squad who he is counting on to move in.
"I don't see us building around just one person," he said. "It's going to be a group effort. We've got eight girls who are going to get into the rotation of playing every night. At some times we're going to have four sophomores out there, so there is going to be some growing pains."
Delich returns 5-10 sophomore guard Jade Farquhar, who averaged 10.5 points a game. He's also looking at his two captains, 5-10 senior forward Emilie Meinhart and 5-10 forward Morgan Mummey (6.7 ppg.) to step up and take over the leadership that Hay and Snyder provided.
Senior Lauren Solt (6-0), returns to the Lady Bombers lineup at center after a year away from the program, who is a good shot blocker and rebounder. Junior Mikayla Krupa, a 5-10 forward, will be in the mix.
"Krupa scraps and hustles and plays a lot bigger than her size,," said Delich.
He's also looking at Madison Mummey, a 5-10 sophomore guard, to handle some of the point guard responsibility.
Delich has seniors Joelle Reinhart (5-11, Morgan Hadinger (5-7) and Gabrielle Alban (5-5) who can come off the bench as well as sophomores Abby Reimer (5-9), Janel Tracy (5-5), Julia Paulinho (5-6 and Lyndsay Nemeth (5-11) who can fill in when needed.
"We'll play the post-presence kind of offense like we did with Hay," said Delich. "We don't really have a post player, although Meinhart has done a nice job.
"We'll be a more perimeter-oriented, slash-and-dash and cut type offense. We'll have to work hard for everything we get.
"Defense will be the key this year to how successful we'll be. How well we defend and how well we rebound in a very balanced Colonial League is going to determine the success of our season. We won't be able to sit in one defense. We may change every time down the floor."
Delich feels the team chemistry is good and probably the strong point right now.
"The kids generally like each other and because of that good things happen," said Delich. "On any given night, any one of six or seven can hit double figures. We're pretty balanced."
The goals don't change. They Bombers always think district playoffs and somewhere along the line, a league playoff berth will come around.
"You've got to play well at home, you have to stay healthy and you have to catch a couple of breaks here and there," Delich added. "So we'll see."