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Berezwick excited about program’s young talent

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    Lehighton girls basketball team members include, front row, from left, Mady Wolter, Taylor Bowman, Hailey Miller and Kyasia Moultrie. Middle row, Katie Wojton, Cassidy McGee, Gracie Williams, Ashley Marchessault, Kelsey Gaston and Jordan Haley. Back row, Tinaya Klotz, Abigail Meckes, Alexis Solomon, Aaliyah Fisher, Megan Hauser and Emma Schappell. PHOTO COURTESY OF RICH SMITH

Published December 05. 2019 11:28AM

The Lehighton girls basketball team won eight games a year ago — but that number could have been much higher.

The Indians gave some of the better teams in the Schuylkill League fits for large portions of games. But in the end, Lehighton’s lack of offense proved to be its downfall.

“I thought we defended pretty well last season,” said coach Joe Berezwick. “But it’s no secret that we struggled to score. A few more baskets here or there, and we could have qualified for districts (the Indians were last in the Times News area in points per game, three-pointers made, and free throw percentage).

“We gave some really good teams fits, but the bottom line is you need to find a way to win those games — and we didn’t do that.”

If there was a bright side, however, it was that several underclassmen played prominent roles for the Indians. The return of those core players, and even more young talent around them — 11 of the Indians’ 16 varsity players are either freshmen or sophomores — has Berezwick excited about the start of the new season.

“Being a competitor, I would have obviously rather been 14-8 last year than 8-14,” Berezwick said. “But at the same time, I think back and I know how well we played at times, and know that we can build on that this season.

“We had a good summer turnout, and the girls have worked extremely hard. Now, it’s a matter of taking what some of the younger kids learned last year when they were forced into playing time, and expanding on that.”

The three main returnees that Berezwick will be turning to are Hailey Miller (5-5, sophomore), who averaged 7.5 points per game last season; Alexis Solomon (5-8, junior, 5.4 ppg.); and Tinaya Klotz (5-7, senior, 4.5). They will be joined in the starting lineup by Ashley Marchessault (5-7, junior) and Aaliyah Fisher (5-9, sophomore).

“I’m excited about this season, and the foundation we are building,” said Berezwick. “We’ll probably be starting four underclassmen, including a couple of sophomores. With all the young players we have in key roles, this is a team that should continue to grow and develop.

“I think we can be competitive in an extremely difficult league, and as the year goes on we expect to get closer to where we want to be as a program.”

Other players who Berezwick will be counting on to contribute are Emma Schappell (5-7, senior), Kelsey Gaston (5-6, junior), Gracie Wiliams (5-7, sophomore), Abigail Meckes (5-7, sophomore) and Taylor Bowman (5-5, freshman).

“We need some girls to step up and earn playing time off the bench,” said Berezwick. “We would like to have a seven-or-eight-person rotation, and those spots are all wide open right now.”

As far as goals are concerned, Berezwick said he’s excited about the possibilities.

“We are a young team, and we are hoping to start building a foundation for the future,” Berezwick said. “But at the same time, we have big goals for this season.

“Getting into districts would be a big step for the program, and it’s a step we are capable of achieving.”

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