“We don’t have one girl on this team who cares about her own individual stats, it’s all about the team performing well,” projected Lackawanna Trail head girls basketball coach Lauren Strempek.
The coach, who is in her fourth year at the front of the program, lost three senior starters-including Laurelann Penn who now suits up for NCAA Division II Pace University.
“Losing the seniors has a big impact, but we have a lot of returners and a good group of freshmen,” she added.
This year’s Lady Lions team features five seniors on the twelve man roster. Strempek also expects all her freshmen to make an impact this season.
She said, “Last season, we lost games we should have won. It all depends on who shows up at game time. We were hit with injuries and illnesses last year, coupled with a small roster, and had to battle. These girls have a good work ethic, and have been dedicated to our program.”
This season, Trail will be competitive, and that is due in part to a good exhibition schedule.
“The exhibition games will force us to work harder,” said the coach. “We are also going to be finishing the things we do well- rebounding, defense, and things like that.”
Strempek, an Abington Heights grad who played at Albright College and Marywood University, stresses to her team that, “(She’s) not here to only teach them basketball, but also life lessons. How to get along with other people. The ups and downs of life- you have to push through it all. On the court, you are teammates, even if you aren’t friends off the court. There is a way to work through the problems.”
She also feels this will be a good year, because this is her first full circle year. When she began at Trail, this year’s seniors were her first class of freshmen.
She explained, “It will be a little emotional for me, to see how far my freshmen have come, and where they are going.”
One way they are moving toward this season is to concentrate on conditioning and the little things in the game. Things like protecting the ball, keeping possessions, finishing the shot, and finishing defensive rebounds are key to winning games, according to the head coach.
“We need to work on boxing out, finishing, and taking care of the ball. We have the height, our girls have long length, and our defense is solid. The girls need to have fun, though, too. They have to realize that the more fun they have, the more success we will have as a team,” she added.
As for their competition, the Lady Lions’ are taking their schedule on a game by game basis. “We try not to get to far ahead of ourselves, then it gets in our heads and we don’t play the game at hand,” explained Strempek.
The Lady Lions host games and practice in the high school gym. They open their season on Friday, Dec. 7 at Tunkhannock.
Roster: Seniors Samantha Baltrusaitis, Cali Fauquier, Rachael Beemer, Alyssa Fowler, and Morgan Krzywicki. Juniors Monica Stuenzi and Lexi Duetsch. Sophomores Abby Wilson and Kassidy Kostick. Freshman Emma Oswald, Megan Gatto, and Amaralis Theil.
Schedule: Dec. 7 at Tunkhannock, 6 p.m.; Dec. 10 at Susquehanna, 6 p.m.; Dec. 13 vs. Riverside, 6 p.m.; Dec. 15 at Dallas, 1 p.m.; Dec. 17 vs. Valley View, 6 p.m.; Dec. 20 vs. Old Forge, 6 p.m.; Dec. 28 vs. Meyers, 6 p.m.; Jan. 3 vs. Elk Lake, 6 p.m.; Jan. 5 at Mountain View, 6 p.m.; Jan. 7 vs. Forest City, 6 p.m.; Jan. 10 at Montrose, 6 p.m.; Jan. 14 vs. Blue Ridge, 6 p.m.; Jan. 17 vs. Susquehanna, 6 p.m.; Jan. 19 vs. Wyoming Seminary, 1 p.m.; Jan. 21 vs. Mid Valley, 6 p.m.; Jan. 24 at Elk Lake, 6 p.m.; Jan. 28 vs. Mountain View, 6 p.m.; Jan. 31 at Forest City, 6 p.m.; Feb. 4 vs. Montrose, 6 p.m.; Feb. 7 at Blue Ridge, 5:30 p.m.; Feb. 11 at Susquehanna 6 p.m.; Feb. 13 at Mid Valley, 6 p.m.