The 2011-12 North Warren Varsity Basketball Team includes (front): Amber Frasier, Chantal Millington, Kiersten Williamson, Jenna Monroe, Cassie Maday, (rear): Megan McDonough, Kiera Warner, Margo Broderick, Laura Tennyson, Ana Deltoro and Coach P.J. Hogan.
The pre-season predictions of area sports fans have proven true so far this year.
North Warren High School, with its limited enrollment, is continuing its recent trend of beating the odds in girls basketball.
The Cougars have cruised through 2011 with an admirable 4-1 record as of this week — a considerable feat for routinely playing schools twice their size.
With a third of their season now history, the team is on a solid course toward repeating or surpassing their 2010-11 achievement of securing second place in the Adirondack League Western Division.
Coach P.J. Hogan said the reason for their early-season success this year is team chemistry and court vision — as well as the players’ athleticism and drive.
“The girls know where they should be on the court, they’re finding the open player, making the open pass, and working well together,” Hogan said.
Another reason for their success is surely that the core team members have been playing AAU basketball together off-season for three years.
To start off 2011-12, the Cougars defeated Bolton 55 to 27 on Dec. 6, then lost to the ever-tough Hartford squad of Adirondack League East by a score of 44 to 26 when the Tanagers keyed in on their core players. The girls then defeated Hadley-Luzerne 60 to 25 on Dec. 13, Salem 52 to 34 on Dec. 16, and on Dec. 20, defeated Corinth 47 to 32.
Hogan said his team’s recent success against the Tomahawks was due to steely defense.
“We pressed a bit, got turnovers early, and forced them into some tough shots,” he said. “We also had very balanced scoring with four players in double figures. They’d key on one of our players, and our girls would make that extra pass to another teammate who’d score.”
Seniors Kiera Warner, Cassie Maday and Margo Broderick have been leading the scoring parade this year.
Against Corinth, these three plus Junior Amber Frasier all scored in double figures.
Hogan extends the credit for the season’s success to each one of the Cougar’s nine players, noting they’ve all played vital roles in the 4-1 record.
“We’ve experienced a very balanced effort involving all the girls, particularly getting a lot of leadership out of the seniors,” he said. “Everyone is playing hard — in games and practice.”
Hogan noted that both his team and the storied Lake George squad are both 4-1 at this point, adding that he is anticipating that his team will achieve the success of the 2010-11 squad — if not surpassing their record.
“At this point, we’re playing one game at a time,” he said.