The saying on the back of the York Suburban girls’ basketball pinnies is as fitting as ever as they prepare for the 2015-16 hoops season.

“PRACTICE LIKE A CHAMPION,” which has been on the back of their pinnies for the last three years, is a principle that head coach Jess Barley adheres to. The Trojans undergo an up-tempo practice when they hit court with Barley.

“We talk a lot about how you’re going to play on game days the way you practice,” Barley said. “So really think about that whether it’s a full-court scrimmaging drill or just a shooting drill. It’s all those little things… That’s all going to correlate to a game.

“We want to practice like it’s a championship game in hopes that it carries over.”

The fourth year head coach practices what she preaches as well. Barley is involved and active during practices as her players are. Her voice echoes across the court during drills and she is very animated when breaking down plays with her team.

It is that enthusiasm that she has for Suburban — her high school alma mater — and the game of basketball that has endeared Barley to so many of her players.

“We follow her lead,” Molly Day said of her head coach. “When she’s on the sideline stomping, we’re out there stomping with here. We completely trust her 100 percent, no matter what.”

Day has so much faith in Barley that when it came to selecting where to attend college, it was Barley’s advice that drove Day to York College for next fall. Barley, herself, played at York College during her collegiate days.

“Anything she does I trust her,” Day said.

How that trust manifests on the court will factor in if York Suburban can build off a strong season last year. The Trojans went 27-9 in 2014-15 and finished second in Division II, but had their season end in the second round of the district tournament. Barley, for her efforts, won Coach of the Year accolades at season's end.

Building off that success will be a challenge as they enter this season without leading scorer Claudia Mingora, who graduated last spring. Barley is expecting a collaborative effort from her team to fill the hole that Mingora left.

The Trojans will have three returning starters — Day, Olivia Gettle and Georgia Dumars — and there will be some expectation for them to step up this season. Day averaged nearly nine points a game last season and Gettle averaged six points per contest. The two were the second and third leading scorers on the team, respectively.

The Trojans also plan to work more inside the post and make the defense work more.

“Our goal this is just to swing the ball around the top and get post touches,” Gettle explained. “Just make the defense work and that will open up more offensive opportunities for us.”

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