STRATTANVILLE, Pa. (EYT) – With experience comes higher expectations and the Clarion-Limestone girls basketball team begins the 2021 season with quite a bit of experience and head coach Gus Simpson is hoping his team can fulfill those expectations.
(BY: STEVE SMAIL. PHOTO: C-L’s Janelle Pezzuti, who had 17 points in the Lady Lions win over Sheffield Friday. Photo by Shelly Atzeni. Check out more of Atzeni’s work here.)
C-L finished with an 8-14 record with the Lady Lions being competitive in many of those games. This year, Simpson would like to see his group take the next step and come out on top in those games.
“I think for us our goals are going to be slightly changing because at this point, we know what we need to do so this year our goal is finishing,” said Simpson. “When you are teaching the goal is to go quarter by quarter and see what happens. Now that we have that experience under our belt the teaching is at a minimum and these girls have to go out and finish off games.”
Simpson has a pretty good group in which to work with having four seniors and six players overall out of 12 who played significant minutes last season.
Frances Milliron a junior led the way with a 10.9 points per game average. Seniors Janelle Pezzuti (6.2 ppg.) and Anna Kennemuth (Sr.) 6.1 ppg, Kendall Dunn (So.) 5.8 ppg. Maddy Wenner (Sr.) 4.5, and Sydney Simpson (Sr.) 3.4 ppg. round out the scorers from last season.
“These seniors were all freshmen when I came back to coaching,” said Gus Simpson. “They know what the expectations are, and they know what it takes. Whether it’s a voice on the floor or on the bench so that should benefit us. I think our unity is our biggest strength along with the fact that we are pretty quick. I think that quickness is going to allow us to do some different things defensively.”
Simpson also feels that his team has a bit of size which should help. “We have Maddy (Wenner) who didn’t get much playing time early on but has been seeing her role increase over these last couple of seasons. I’m also anxious to see how freshman Alyssa Wiant continues to grow and develop so that will be fun to watch.”
As far as entering the season with the uncertainty of the COVID situation, Simpson feels that every team is pretty much the same in that regard.
“Everybody is in the same boat at this point so we can’t dwell on things as far as the stopping and re-starting of practices,” said Simpson. “There are no excuses and I’m sure every coach is going to say the same thing. I’m just glad we’re giving these kids a chance to play.”
Simpson has four freshmen whom he feels is going to contribute as well in Grace Shick, Sarah Sebastian, Lexi Coull, Alex Leadbetter, and Wiant. Carly Renninger a sophomore is awaiting clearance from her doctor in order to return.
“This has been a pretty good process over the past couple of seasons,” said Simpson. “Now we have kids on the same page with their experience and what we’re asking them to do. it should make us competitive. It’s just a matter of how well we play. With that experience it’s just a matter of what we do with it.”
Seniors: Sydney Simpson, Janelle Pezzuti, Anna Kennemuth, Maddy Wenner.
Junior: Frances Milliron
Sophomores: Kendall Dunn, Carly Renninger
Freshmen: Grace Shick, Sarah Sebastian, Lexi Coull, Alex Leadbetter, Alyssa Wiant.