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Truckee basketball | Well-rounded girls optimistic about new season

The opposition will have to pick its poison against the Truckee girls basketball team in 2012-13.

Because the Wolverines have athletes all over the floor - and they all can score.

"I think we'll score more this year. I think we're actually a better offensive team," said Truckee head coach Geoff Stephens, comparing his team to last year's group, which wasn't shabby itself. "We are much more balanced this year."

The Truckee girls are off to a 1-0 start, coming off a 44-26 win over Division I McQueen this past weekend. The win impressed Stephens, who saw his team overwhelm the larger school with its quickness, athleticism and scoring ability.

"They (McQueen) tried to force the tempo, and we met it and excelled from it. They couldn't keep up with our guards," he said, referring to seniors Katey Hamill and Olivia Duner.

Hamill, the Wolverines' returning starting point guard, and Duner share team captain honors along with senior forward Jackie Bolton. The trio is among the six seniors on the squad, all of whom will be major contributors, Stephens said.

"I think we're going to see some really good things from our senior group. I'm real pleased with the senior leadership right now," the coach said.

Aside from their tenacity, Duner and Hamill boast quickness and shooting range, while Bolton, at 5 foot 11, provides height in the paint as well as a soft touch from the perimeter. Hamill was voted to the All-League second team last year, and Bolton and Duner received honorable mention.

Fellow senior Sydnie English is perhaps the biggest offensive threat of all, as the tough and versatile, 5-10 forward can score from inside or out with the best of them, plus rebound and defend. She was voted to the All-League first team last season.

"Sydnie is definitely one of our go-to girls," Stephens said, adding that English was the leading scorer against McQueen, with 13 points.

Other seniors include returning guard Ashley Harris and Brazilian foreign exchange student Lorena DeMichelli, both of whom can score.

"Ashley can hit threes, and I think Lorena is going to help us a lot on the offensive side," Stephens said. "She's a good slasher, and she has a nose for the hoop."

The roster also includes four juniors who will play significant roles, Stephens said, with center Cassandra Sawyer, forward Lauren Peak and guards Kaylee Neill and Diana Rosas. Sophomore forward Kate Traeger and freshman point guard Karina Nunez will also help the Wolverines, he said.

With such a well-rounded and athletic team, Stephens said the Wolverines will play a fast-paced game in which every player is encouraged to shoot - as opposed to last year, when they focused on feeding the ball to standout league MVP Aleigh Krug in the post.

"We're not a setup offense anymore. Our message to the girls is more shots, better shots, faster tempo," Stephens said, adding that the Wolverines will primarily play man defense and press. "We're going to get the ball going. We want to speed it up."

Truckee, which finished 16-6 overall last season and lost to Fernley in the first round of the regional tournament, will play six regular-season crossover games against members of the Division I-A's Lahontan and Ruby Mountain league pods. The Wolverines also play a handful of games against larger Division I opponents, while they finish the regular season with 10 games in their Mount Rose League pod.

If the Wolverines manage to advance past the regional postseason, they'll have their work cut out for them at state, as 10 larger schools from the Division I South dropped down to the Division I-A during the offseason.


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Dec 5, 2012 12:08PM Published Dec 5, 2012 12:06PM Copyright 2012 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.