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S-GI girls JV basketball looks to continue its success

Sara Kwaitkowski
SPRINGVILLE — The Springville-Griffith Institute girls junior varsity basketball team finished another 12-plus win season, a year ago. The Lady Griffs’ 15-3 record marked the team’s fourth consecutive season with 12 wins or more. Springville head coach Bob Gainey said he expects much of the same, from this year’s squad.

Returning starters at guard include Brittney Luther and Sara Kwiatkowski. Both sophomore guards were two of the team’s leading scorers, last season.

“I think we’re going to be very successful, this year, especially with the amount of depth we have with our guards,” said Gainey. “Having both Brittney and Sara back really gives us a lot of quality match-ups in our favor, on the wings.”

Luther can play both the point guard position and the two-guard position, but will be a huge asset on defense, as well, according to Gainey.

“She brings that experience factor to our team,” said Gainey. “She’s a great competitor and just loves to compete, on both ends of the floor.

“She’s not just an offensive player,” the coach continued. “She can change the game defensively, on the ball and away from the ball. She has that ability to do things that a lot of other players can’t do. She disrupts others teams’ continuity, on the defensive side; that helps us get out, in our transition game.”

Kwiatkowski will be a player for Gainey who can create her own shot and contribute offensively, the coach added.

“It’s hard to find kids that can create, at this level, and that’s all over Western New York,” said Gainey.

“We have a kid who is instant offense. She can shoot the ball real well and she’s evolved her game, where she can now go to her left confidently. She can take the ball in the lane, jump-stop and finish there. She’s a kid that can score points in a hurry and really swing the game in our favor, whether that’s in the half-court or getting out on the fast break.”

Gainey said he prefers his teams to come out in a full-court press and use their transition game. He involves both a zone-press and a man-press, to force opponents into turning the ball over.

“The goal is to push the ball and get as many possessions as we can,” the coach continued. “If we can double up the amount of possessions the opposition has, then I think we have a really good shot at scoring, at a high level.”

Other returning players include Kalee Schreiber, Jen Kessler, Emma Beckerich, Riley Stedman and Sam Reese. Lexi Sopko and Carrie Dickinson are both freshmen, but will assume important roles, according to Gainey.

Dickinson led the Springville modified squad in scoring, last season, and will see time at guard, this season.

“I think the one area we really have to concentrate on is rebounding,” Gainey added.

“Our depth up front is pretty good; we just need to limit teams to one possession, each time down. This team has a really high ceiling and I think, with the amount of potential this team has, we can make a big run, this year,” the coach concluded.

Springville takes on Cheektowaga on Dec. 9.


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