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Redbank Valley girls on right track after winless season

| Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012, 1:36 a.m.
Redbank Valley's Brooke Hinderliter tries to drive by coach Robin Martin during practice on Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012.
Redbank Valley's Emma Kennemuth brings the ball up the court during practice on Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012.

As coach Robin Martin encouraged an up-tempo style of play a year ago during her first season with Redbank Valley's girls basketball team, she watched the turnovers pile up and the Lady Bulldogs go winless.

When the offseason arrived, Martin chose to stand by the strategy. She believed her girls simply needed more time to learn the style, and she knew the team would soon have a confident, albeit primary young ball-handler.

Redbank Valley, which lost only four girls to graduation, began its second season under Martin well, as the Lady Bulldogs won both games at the Brockway tip-off tournament last weekend. More thrills might be on the way as long as Redbank Valley remains in possession of the ball when it runs the floor.

“We averaged over 30 turnovers a game (last season), and a lot of them happened at half court, so it was easy layups,” Martin said. “We couldn't stay with teams because we were turning the ball over so much, and then, we weren't always hitting our shots.”

Freshman guard Brooke Hinderliter solved many of Redbank Valley's problems. A self-assured dribbler and shooter, she scored 23 and 18 points, respectively, in wins over Brockway (42-34) and DuBois (37-33).

Just as important, Hinderliter helped keep the turnover total within reason: The Lady Bulldogs had 27 turnovers in the two games combined.

“The addition of Brooke is a great help,” Martin said. “Everybody knows about her already. I had to wait a whole year for her. … We understand that she's going to get doubled, so other people have to hit open shots. We can't always rely on her to score 20 points a night. … They're learning, and they're understanding that she definitely opens up other people because she attracts so much attention.”

Senior Alex Bell and junior Madison McClaine occupy the backcourt with Hinderliter. McClaine's 3-point shooting and height make her dangerous on the wing. Bell provides stifling defense.

Redbank Valley's frontcourt shouldered the scoring responsibilities a season ago. Erica Bowersox, now a senior, averaged 8.4 points. Emma Kennemuth, now a junior, scored 6.9 per contest.

“We definitely have to get them more touches,” Martin said. “We are probably one of the bigger teams in the KSAC this season, so we have to use that to our advantage. I think we have to get our guards a little more comfortable getting the ball inside, and once they do that, it opens up our outside shots.

Bowersox and Kennemuth are completely comfortable with a guard now scoring the bulk of the points. They understood early on in the offseason that Redbank Valley would prosper with Hinderliter serving as the playmaker.

“We started playing together in March, and right then, we saw it was going to be a big improvement,” Kennemuth said.

Said Bowersox: “It's like we've been with her forever. It's not like she's new.”

To finish with a .500 record overall and in Keystone Shortway Athletic Conference South Division play is the goal for the Lady Bulldogs.

“I think everyone came back disappointed in themselves and wanting to do better than what they did,” Kennemuth said. “We didn't get much summer work in last year, and this year, we got quite a few in.”

Bill West is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at wwest@tribweb.com or 724-543-1303.

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