The Franklin County Tip-Off Tournament lifted the lid on the girls basketball season Friday.
Here are some important questions for each team to answer as the season progresses:
Can the Trojans avoid slow starts?
Chambersburg made a late comeback, cutting the deficit to just five points in the fourth period of a 47-42 loss to Greencastle, but couldn’t come back from the hole it had dug early in the game. Their first quarter was rough - the Trojans scored only two points while turning the ball over multiple times.
“We started off and got down 12-0 and looked very nervous, very erratic,” Chambersburg coach Barry Purvis said, “We have to come out of the gate a lot better than we did today, I think if we do that we’ll be fine.”
One of the advantages the Trojans will look to use this season is the height of Taylor Vrabel and Taymija Harrison in the post. The two did a good job of controlling the defensive and offensive glass and combined for 22 points, but many of the team’s turnovers came from trying to force the ball to the two forwards.
Purvis said, “We knew we should have an advantage in height if we could get the ball in to our forwards. But sometimes our passes inside weren’t very good or strong and that created some turnovers.”
Will the Blue Devils be able to eliminate unnecessary fouls?
One thing that hindered the Blue Devils was making unnecessary fouls.
“We have some things that we can work on. It was kind of a young player, typical first game. But we got into some foul trouble and we’re not the deepest team in the world,” Greencastle coach Mike Rhine said, “We had some boneheaded plays, but at the same time the girls came up big in the end.”
Another issue that might hurt the Blue Devils is their lack of height. Forward Jenay Faulkner, who is 5-foot-11, is the only player on the team over 5-10 and can handle herself against taller players, but when a team has more than one big, they might be able to exploit the Devils. More than half of Chambersburg's points came from its two forwards, who were 5-11 and 6-2.
“They had size, which we knew would hurt us,” Rhine said, “We tried to attack the ballhandlers, trap them in the backcourt and cause a little bit of chaos.”
By Noah Shatzer
Can it grow as a young team and find ways to win being undersized?
The Rockets had to know that with such a young team, this year would present some challenges. The lack of size, on top of being young, is going to create some issues. James Buchanan fought hard and showed a lot of heart against Waynesboro, but had trouble competing in the paint, rarely getting any second-chance point opportunities.
Having only two seniors will thrust a lot of underclassman into the rotation, and the Rockets will need to continue to improve and learn on a daily basis. Waynesboro was bigger and more experienced, but the Rockets will get opportunities to shoot the ball better going forward.
This year may include some growing pains for the Rockets, but many things will be learned and a lot of experience gained.
Will the Maidens' defense continue to complement the potent offense?
The Maidens look, and sound, very optimistic. They will look to improve on defense, hoping a solid 'D' can complement the well-rounded offense.
Waynesboro has seven seniors, no juniors and four sophomores. Coach Allison Steiger knows this year is a good opportunity, but she also understands mixing in those underclassmen is important, too.
“Especially in a two-day, back-to-back game scenario, it’s important to keep everyone's legs fresh," Steiger said. "I want to get people into the groove of the game, especially early if I can.”
Senior Cat Weber said, “This year is going to be completely different - the atmosphere at practices is better and this just showed it. The scoring was balanced and everyone was giving a lot of effort. I was very impressed with the way everyone played tonight. We are all fired up for this year.”
By Kevin Reiber