Lady Bulldogs hope to be competitive
JOE SEREMULA/Special to THE TIMES NEWS The Northern Lehigh Girls Basketball Team will be made up of: Front, from left, Rhiannon Rhodes, Jennifer Knerr, Shelby Kreglow, Karlyn Kemery and Jocyln Duschak. Middle row, from left, Monica Mankos, Amber Thomas, Emily Bevans and Jess Olewine. Back row, same order, Assistant coach Brandon Hibbler, Sandra Moran, Jetmira Mujovic, Leah Petre, Annie Tarafas, Kelsey Follweiler and Chelsea Harlan.
Tony Thomas doesn't want to weigh the success of his Northern Lehigh girls' basketball team this season based on wins or losses.
Instead, Thomas has decided to approach the task of the measurements in a whole different manner.
"We want to go out and be as competitive as possible with what we have," Thomas said. "We want to go ahead and double or triple our win total.
"We want to let teams know that they played Northern Lehigh and it just wasn't a pushover."
Sure, Thomas expressed fond interest in exceeding the 3-19 overall record that the Bulldogs posted in his first season with the program. He would rather see his Bulldogs put that heart-wrenching 1-16 Colonial League mark behind them and push for the idea of making a name for themselves in a whole different way by being competitive as they can be, however.
It was an unfortunate way to send the Bulldogs' lone graduate Autumn Tarafas out in her final year. Thomas is looking to a core group of senior to be the strength of the program this time around. It's the likes of seniors Kelsey Follweiler, Emily Bevans, Chelsea Harlan and Annie Tarafas, he truly believes will get things headed in the right direction this season.
"We're going to have a senior-driven team this year that has a year under their belt with what we're looking to accomplish and those kind of things," Thomas stressed. "They have an idea of what's going on and they know exactly where we're going or what our ideas are for the direction of the team."
In addition to the competitive mindset they carry and adjusting fully to Thomas' game plan, these upperclassmen bring plenty of game experience forth into the up-and-coming season. Follweiler (5.32 ppg) and Tarafas (2.91 ppg) both saw action in all 22 games. Harlan returns with the intent of making up for lost grounds after sustaining a season-ending injury, which limited her to 12 games last season. Bevans saw action in 14 games.
While the Bulldogs returning foursome saw plenty of action a year ago, Thomas is also looking for guidance from seniors Leah Petre, Sandra Moran and Jetmire Mojovic, who didn't see time last season, for a lending helping hand of building a "foundation" for the program for years to come.
"All of my seniors want to set a good foundation and leave their final year here with some experiences for the younger kids," Thomas added. "We have five incoming freshmen this year, and they want to be inspirational to them and keep this program moving forward."
Junior Jess Olewine returns with the best points per game average - with 7.70 ppg - that spanned across 20 games.
After that core group of seniors and Olewine, the Bulldogs look to junior Amber Thomas and a group of underclassmen to take the next step forward.
"We really have to work on developing the kids that aren't here right now and work on the five incoming freshmen," Thomas said. "I have to get those freshmen developed and ready to play some key roles because there are going to be opportunities for them next year."
At this present moment, the Bulldogs are impressing their second-year mentor with their overall attitudes toward his intents for this season.
"Right now, attitudes have been phenomenal," Thomas said. "We want to see what we can build on, what we worked on from last year and make sure it carries over. And I have the seniors that are going to go and drive that home this year."