Whittell girls b-ball counting on talent, depth | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Whittell girls b-ball counting on talent, depth

Anthony Gentile
Whittell senior Gisselle Benitez will handle point guard duties for the Warriors this season. Benitez is one of the team’s eight returning varsity players.
Anthony Gentile / Tahoe Daily Tribune |

The Whittell girls basketball team has talent and experience headed into its 2014-15 campaign. As a result, the Warriors plan to make this season a successful one.

“This team is probably the most talented team we’ve had since we’ve been here as far as athleticism,” Warriors seventh-year head coach Tom Esposito said. “It’s going to be a fun season.”

Whittell went 5-15 last season and finished seventh in league play. The Warriors plan to improve on that mark this year, and depth is the main reason why — Whittell has the ability to rotate between eight and 10 players in games.

“The rotation is going to depend on how everybody works together, how they perform together and how much production we can get,” Esposito said.

“We’re going to utilize our speed — it will be organized chaos.”
Tom Esposito
Warriors head coach

The Warriors plan to play faster both offensively and defensively this season, a style of play their depth allows for. Defensively, that translates to person-to-person defense and constant pressure on the ball.

“If you’re going to put pressure on people you have to have players to replace them so you can keep the intensity up,” Esposito said. “Our plan is to sub as needed and try to keep the pressure on all game. We’re looking to put some pressure on the ball, be disruptive and see what happens.”

On offense, Whittell plans to score in transition as often as possible. As a team, the Warriors have speed at every position.

“We’re going to utilize our speed — it will be organized chaos,” Esposito said.

Eight players return for Whittell this season, led by senior point guard Gisselle Benitez and junior guard Kelsey Kjer. Both players are team captains, and will anchor the Warriors’ backcourt.

The Warriors’ other returners include juniors Chelsea Aguirre-Rodriguez, Jordyn Becker, Diane Clavel, Hazel Darluico and Daria Sharon along with sophomore Michelle Barnes. Varsity newcomers feature senior Keatzia Morales, junior Aisha Ceron along with sophomores Ali Copsy and Samantha Forvilly — Copsy and Forvilly return to the hardwood after not playing as freshmen.

“We picked up some speed, and everybody is really working hard,” Esposito said.

Whittell opened the season Tuesday night at North Tahoe. The Warriors play in the Greenville (Calif.) Tournament Dec. 4-6 and host the Whittell Tournament Dec. 10-13. Whittell concludes its nonleague slate at home against local rival South Tahoe Dec. 15, and begins league play against defending league champion Pyramid Lake Dec. 19.

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