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Geibel girls basketball to rely on young core, hope to improve as season progresses

| Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013, 10:21 p.m.
Lori Padilla | For the Daily Courier
Geibel's Karly Judy goes up for a shot while being defended by Haley Hutchinson during a practice session Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013 at Geibel High School.
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In his third season as coach of the Geibel girls basketball team, Shawn Holup hopes the team on the court at the end of the season looks a lot different from the one that will start the 2013-14 campaign.

“I think, early in the year, we will struggle with our half-court offense, but it will get better,” Holup said. “The biggest thing will be improvement, and I think our talent may surprise some people later in the year.”

Unfortunately for the Gators, their progression is being slowed right from the start of the season because of injuries to key players.

Sophomore forward Riley Bocan (foot), junior forward Jess Cocciolone (knee) and sophomore center Alyssa Hutchinson (shoulder) are nursing injuries. All are expected to be valuable contributors on this year's team when healthy. Bocan and Cocciolone are expected back in a matter of weeks. Hutchinson's return is uncertain.

The three injured players are part of a motivated and youthful group.

“We're very young,” Holup said. “They are working hard, and the girls have a great attitude.”

The Gators are coming off a 3-19 season but have some strengths to build on, beginning with guards Karly Judy and Haley Hutchinson.

Hutchinson is the lone senior on this year's team and is setting a good example for the younger players.

“Haley is a real hard worker,” Holup said. “She has gotten a lot better, and I think she could have a real good season.”

Judy, a junior, has developed into the team's go-to player. She will be counted on to produce in the wake of the loss of last year's leading scorer, graduate Peyton McIntyre.

“This is only her third year playing basketball, but she is getting better and better,” Holup said. “She is definitely our leader.”

Judy likes that the team is learning and growing together.

“We're a young team, so we are all very close,” Judy said. “That will help us play well together.”

She said attention to detail will be key for the Gators.

“We all just need to buckle down, listen to our coaches and absorb the information,” Judy said. “That will help us a lot.”

One of Geibel's biggest problems in recent seasons has been a lack of rebounding.

At 5-foot-10, freshman Grace Nowicki is the tallest player on the team and could be an asset on the boards. She also is capable of playing on the perimeter.

“She has good quickness,” Holup said of Nowicki. “She can step out and hit a 3-pointer.”

Juniors Brooke Core and Catie Hamel, as well as sophomores Madison Bubarth and freshmen Lauren Kosslow, Abbey Sitko, Sidney Anderson and Gabby Kolencik, add depth to the roster.

“Everybody on the roster has worked hard in the offseason,” Holup said. “With only one senior, we're happy about our future, and I think we'll get a lot better as the year goes on.”

Jason Black is the Local Sports Editor of the Daily Courier. He can be reached at jblack@tribweb.com.

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