Regan Gatta had several objectives in mind when she took over as head coach of the Scotia-Glenville varsity girls’ basketball team in 2006.
“When I first started, there had been a lot of coaching turnover, and I was looking to bring some consistency,” she said. “I also wanted to put together a team that was competitive in Section II. I wanted to get the community excited about girls’ basketball and get them on the map.”
Gatta did that just two seasons into her stint when she guided the Tartans to a long-awaited championship. Three more league titles followed, and two of those squads made deep sectional runs.
“I had some wonderful kids,” said the modest Lincoln Elementary School teacher, who has stepped down for personal reasons. “Year in and year out, they worked hard. They got along with each other and helped each other. You have to have that to have so many great teams.”
Gatta’s seven teams put together a combined 84-58 record, including a 52-8 mark from 2009-12. Those three Foothills Council championship teams won 39 of their 40 league games.
“Her teams modeled the way she was as a player,” said Jamian Rockhill, Scotia-Glenville’s athletic director and dean of students. “They were confident, hard-working, dedicated.”
In Gatta’s first season, the Tartans won only four league games. In her second go-round, they won 11 league games and ended the school’s Foothills championship drought that dated back to 1992.
“That was a very rewarding season. To go from worst to first, no one expected us to do it,” said Gatta, whose 2007-08 team was led by Katie DeVantier, Laura Coderre, Gina Cappuccitti and Leigha Motta. “That showed what hard work can do. We had good athletes, but not necessarily basketball-minded kids. If you put time and energy into something, you can accomplish a lot.”
Cassie Broadhead joined the team a year later as an eighth-grader, and, sparked by its budding superstar, Scotia-Glenville put together its outstanding 2009-12 stretch that included a pair of Section II tournament final four berths.
“A player like Cassie doesn’t come along every day, and we had a lot of great players around her,” said Gatta, whose title teams included Danielle Conley, Sarah Janson, Angie DiJohn, Julianna Ferrari and Monica Compton. “I had high expectations. They had high expectations. When you get people together who want it, it’s contagious. It’s that extra time that kids put in that makes great teams.”
Scotia-Glenville completed a perfect 2010-11 regular season and finished at 19-1 following a loss to Averill Park in the Class A semifinals. The Tartans went 18-3 in 2011-12, losing again to Averill Park in the Class A title game. That edition put together a 14-game win streak capped by a sectional semifinal victory over Holy Names.
“We’re proud of her,” said Rockhill. “She did so much for the program. Even after she stepped down, while were going through interview process for a new coach, she was working with the girls.”
Gatta’s girls played a gritty brand of defense, just as she did as a standout at Voorheesville High School and Le Moyne College.
“Defense was always No. 1 with us. It was ingrained in me from the time I started playing, and it’s something I stressed,” said Gatta, who helped Voorheesville win a state championship in 1998. “Play with heart.”
This past season, Scotia-Glenville lost DeJohn and Rachael Cox to preseason knee injuries, and lost Broadhead to a shoulder injury three games in. The Tartans still managed to go 7-5 in the Foothills, gaining a share of second place, and 8-11 overall.
“We had one senior left standing, and we were right there. We were in the league race right up until the end,” said Gatta. “We went with seven kids for most of the season, including an eighth-grader at point guard. They did a good job for such a young team, and they gained some valuable experience.”
Gatta plans to resume her coaching career in the future. Her coaching work includes a two-year assistant stint with the Oswego State women’s team.
“Coaching takes so much time to do it right,” she said. “I got married just over a year ago and I have some things I want to do. I need some time for myself, so I thought this was the right time to hand it over before starting my family.”
Holt Fest standout
Troy High School guard Dyaire Holt scored 16 points, including a three to force overtime, in
Adirondack/Capital’s 77-75 championship-game win over Hudson Valley Sunday at the Basketball Coaches Association of New York Summer Hoops Festival in Johnson City.
Adirondack/Capital lost to Hudson Valley in last year’s title game, 67-65.
Elijah Burns, who is transferring from LaSalle to Blair Academy, scored 14 points in Sunday’s final. Jahlil Nails of Columbia had 12 points and nine rebounds.
Nails had 20 points and six steals in an 88-49 semifinal win over Suffolk.