Scotia-Glenville is one step away from clinching a share of its first girls’ basketball title since 1992.
Second-year coach Regan Burns is well aware of that fact, and even though her Lady Tartans have already put together an outstanding season, she won’t be satisfied with second place.
“This is one really big game,” said Burns, whose squad travels to Johnstown in a key Foothills Council matchup tonight. The Lady Tartans, 10-9 overall, are tied with Hudson Falls in league play at 10-3, and need a victory over the Lady Bills to earn at least a piece of the title.
“We were only 4-16 last year, and when we set our goals at the beginning of the year, we weren’t expecting to be in this position,” Burns said. “But once we got going in the league and played all the competition, we figured we had a chance. We’ve made a lot of improvements throughout the season, and at this point, we’re one win away from the title. We won’t be satisfied with second place, now that we’re in position to be in first.”
Standing in the Lady Tartans’ way will be a Johnstown team that is 8-5 in the league and also 10-9 overall. Scotia-Glenville barely got by the Lady Bills in their first matchup, when the Lady Tartans rallied in the fourth quarter for a 46-45 victory.
“We have to defend the three-point shot against them,” said Burns, whose Lady Tartans allowed the Lady Bills to connect for eight threes in the first game. “That’s what kept them in the game. It was maddening that our girls kept allowing all those threes. That will be a point of emphasis for us, not allowing the three-point shot.”
The other key for Scotia-Glenville’s defense will be to shut down Johnstown scoring ace Katie Kollar, who scored 21 points in their first meeting. Kollar leads all Foothills Council players in scoring at 18.7 points per game, and is third overall in Section II with an average of 17.3 ppg.
“She’s one of the best players around. She’s definitely one of the most talented players in the conference,” said Burns. “You can tell she puts a lot of time in her game.
Offensively, she has great moves. You don’t want to foul her, because she hits her free throws, too. She is dangerous in many ways. She can hit the outside shot, drive to the basket and make her foul shots. For us, it will be important to pay attention to her at all times.”
Luckily for the Lady Tartans, defense is their forte.
“That’s one of the things that we concentrate on,” said Burns. “We go back and forth with a couple of different defenses. It’s hard for some teams to make adjustments on the fly. We go back and forth between our press, our zone and our man-to-man defense We also use some 1-3-1 and some triangle-and-two defenses. We try to change things up. Last year, we were predominately a team that pressed and used the zone. But having a year of experience under our belts, and growing and learning as much as we have, we’ve learned to play man-to-man when we have to.
“Part of our success has been our ability to change defenses. Coaches can prepare for us, but it’s hard when you don’t play against those defenses every day. For example, we’re the only team in the league that uses a 1-3-1, and I haven’t seen any other team use a triangle-and-two. When you’re preparing for a a team that uses those defenses only twice a season, it’s harder to instill that understanding in the girls.”
Another strength of this year’s Tartan team is their balanced scoring production. Senior Katie DeVantier is among the conference leaders at 12 points per game, but none of the Lady Tartans are among the overall area scoring leaders.
“We’ve basically got four players who do most of the scoring for us,” said Burns. “Katie, Gina Cappuccitti, Laura Coderre and Leigha Motta. What’s nice about our team is that on any given night, almost anybody can be our leading scorer. DeVantier is our most consistent contributor offensively, however, on any given night, our other three guards can rotate up, and step up into the scoring column.”
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