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Ligonier girls' basketball team ready to compete

Bill Pribisco | for the Ligonier Echo
Girls basketball team kicks-off season The Ligonier Valley High School girls basketball team are first row (from left) Mattea Short, Amanda Ross, Taylor Rudnik, Jamie Wynn and Lexie Petrof; second row, Kacie Flickenger, Sarah Marsh, Madison McLaughlin, Helene Bloom, Brenna Kolesar and Kari Kuhn; third row, head coach Valerie Ray, Olivia Miller, Halie Pahach, Amelia Kurtz, Kacie Prior, Ava Kurtz and coach Nick Miller. Taken 11/25/2013 at the Ligonier high school

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The Ligonier Valley High School girls' basketball team opens the 2013-14 season Dec. 11 at Homer Center. Valerie Ray has been promoted from assistant coach to head coach this year and said she would like the team to be more aggressive and confident this season.

“We are hoping every game is going to be competitive this year,” Ray said. “We have some speed on the team, so we'd like to take a little bit more of an aggressive, take-charge kind of ball-playing this year. They have a lot of game in them and I'm hoping that we get a chance for the conference championship,” said Ray.

The team is made up of three seniors, three juniors, four sophomores and four freshmen. The seniors include Amanda Ross, Taylor Rudnik and Jamie Wynn. The juniors are Helene Bloom, Brenna Kolesar and Madison McLaughlin. The sophomore squad consists of Kari Kuhn, Amelia Kurtz, Ava Kurtz and Kacie Prior. Kacie Flickenger, Sarah Marsh, Olivia Miller and Halie Pahach are the freshmen.

Ray said she expects a big season out of guards McLaughlin and Rudnik. Also, Bloom has been moved from a forward position to guard. Ray thinks the move will be good for Bloom saying, “Once we get her transitioned in, I think she is going to feel very comfortable and confident there and bring in a lot of points as well.”

Last year the Ligonier Valley Rams made it all the way to the first round of the state playoffs. With an overall record of 15-6 and a conference record of 11-5, Ligonier finished third in the Heritage Conference and lost in the final of the District 6 championship.

The strength of the team Ray explained comes from the confidence the team exudes. If the girls don't know about a team, Ray said they play with more confidence. However, last year if they knew about another team's potential, the Ligonier Rams had a tendency to sit back and watch to see what the other team would do.

Ray said she hopes to build this confidence by building the chemistry among the players. She hopes to accomplish this through team bonding off the court, which will translate to strong play in games.

“I am hoping to be able to build up their confidence so that we can see what they can do. They are a great group of girls; very good athletes, very nice ball players and very coachable girls too,” Ray commented.

The Lady Rams will play host to Northern Cambria for the first home game of the season 7 p.m. Dec. 16 at the Ligonier Valley High School gym.

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