EXETER – Wyoming Area returns three full-time starters and four others with significant experience as it tries to make another move up in the standings in Chad Lojewski’s second year as girls basketball coach.
“The idea last year was that we wanted to be competitive in every game,” Lojewski said. “This year, we want to be competitive and we want to finish.
“With that experience, we’re in a position now where we can close games out and put ourselves in a position to win in the fourth quarter as opposed to trying to catch up in the fourth quarter.”
Junior Katie Wolfgang and sophomore Sarah Holweg, the team’s top two scorers in 2014-15, are back along with senior Nicole Wright, the team’s leading returning rebounder.
Seniors Rachael Solano and Jess Sorick, junior Lydia Edwards and sophomore Addison Orzel were all significant parts of the rotation a year ago, in each case, either working themselves into the starting lineup or at least up to first off the bench at some point.
In Lojewski’s first season, the Warriors added two wins to both their league and overall totals from 2013-14. The presence of so much experience and some more players who seem ready to help now has the team hoping for more significant progress this season.
“We do have some experience,” Lojewski said. “The group of personalities we have right now and their enthusiasm and focus, they’ve set some pretty high expectations for themselves this year.
“We’ve talked a lot about it and managing those expectations is always a challenge, but right now, they’ve set their sights pretty high and I’m excited to see what the season will hold in store.”
The Warriors were 8-15 overall, ending their season with a loss to Abington Heights in the first round of District 2’s open Class AAA tournament. Wyoming Area remained last of five teams in Division 2 of the WVC at 5-8, but was within two games of second place in the division where Nanticoke ran away with the title over a tight pack that included GAR, Hanover Area and Lake-Lehman.
Along the way, the Warriors established the style of play expected again this season – a fast-paced game featuring players with the ability to hit from long range.
“It’s a very fun, up-tempo style,” Lojewski said. “We try to get up and down the floor quick and we want a lot of shots going up at the basket and have fun with it.
“On defense, we try to play a very, aggressive, up tempo as well and try to quickly transition into offense off a steal or a rebound.”
Wolfgang led the team with 12.0 points per game, ranked among the division leaders in drawing fouls with for than five attempts per game and was second in the conference in 3-pointers with 47, behind only Holweg.
Holweg led the way by hitting 54 times from 3-point range while adding 11.6 per game. She also led in assists with 3.9 per game while running the team from the point guard position.
Wright, a 5-foot-9 post player and three-year starter, averaged more than five rebounds and four points per game.
In all, the Warriors return seven of their top eight scorers and their top three 3-point shooters.
Edwards hit 25 times on 3s last year while adding more than five points per game, fourth-best on the team.
“She has improved her ball-handling and defense,” Lojewski said.
In addition to playing other positions, Edwards and Solano can fill in at point guard. Solano was the team’s most accurate free throw shooter last year.
“We have three solid ball-handlers to get the ball up the court,” Lojewski said.
Sorick, a 5-10 senior, is another post player and Orzel is also in the mix at forward.
Lojewski said senior guard Mia Remplewicz, who only played sparingly last year, has shown significant improvement. Sophomore Kristi Skok also has some varsity experience.
The Warriors could also get help from three newcomers – sophomore Jalen Rhodes, freshman point guard Aleah Kranson and freshman forward Brandi Sorokin.
The season opens Friday with a home game against Susquehanna.
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