Mars responds to busy girls basketball schedule
TribLIVE Sports Videos
The Mars girls basketball team had to learn on the fly to start the season.
With five games in the opening week, the Planets did not have much time to go over their experiences in practice. They just had to learn and adapt in game situations.
Mars came out of that stretch with a 2-3 record. Two of the losses were by five points or less — 46-41 to Greensburg Central Catholic to open the year and 59-57 in overtime at Keystone Oaks.
“We are showing a lot of progress. Sometimes, progress looks like failure,” Mars coach Tony Howard said. “The teams we lost to, we thought we had chances to win. Two of those teams had great senior individual efforts against us. I like the way we are progressing. When we have a chance to put teams away, we have to get a little better at that and give ourselves little more leeway down the stretch. I thought we'd be 3-2, but some of that is on me. But, with five games in seven days, we didn't really have a chance to get back in the gym and make adjustments.”
Once they did, it paid off for the Planets. They followed that busy stretch with a 50-42 win over Franklin Regional.
“We have three returning starters and everyone else has little experience. We were just getting over the shock and awe and looking for the schedule to calm down,” Howard said. “I hope the schedule sets us up to be competitive on the back end. We practiced all summer and spring and then had to play literally 25 percent of our games in one week.”
The key victory in that stretch was a 52-28 win at Valley in the WPIAL Section 1-AAA opener.
“We want to win them all, but that was the one we had to have,” Howard said. “Valley has three good players. We were worried going up there; it was our third game of the week and fifth game in seven days.”
Fortunately for Mars, it could rely on an experienced junior trio of Sara Getsy, Ali Goetz and Jess Bunner while the younger girls adjusted.
“When those three are playing together and clicking, it gives us a good trio for teams to try to stop,” Howard said. “We have a lot of different options and ways to attack with those three. We feel comfortable with the ball in any of their hands. We can put them anywhere on the floor and get a matchup advantage.”
Freshman Nicole McCloud, senior Daniella Paras, sophomores Ellysa Paras, Elise Sheehy and Bri Buzard and junior Bonnie Workman all have been in the team's rotation.
“We can go big or small depending on who we're playing,” Howard said. “Daniella was injured, but she is getting back into full-time minutes. Bonnie caught fire this year as a shooter. She made a lot of threes at Valley. It's good to see her get comfortable and get caught up to the speed of the game. We have confidence she can make big shots for us.”
Howard believes his team will only improve.
“The losses may seem like failures, but we can see the progress,” he said. “We're still playing somewhat young with all of those young bodies out there. We're still getting used to the speed of the varsity game. Different teams give us different speeds. We're a little small. We have to do a lot of the little things like boxing out. Ever since I have been at Mars, I think we always play harder than our opponents. That's the goal. I want to get to the point when get to go against the bigger and strong teams, we can rebound and hold our own underneath. That's something we have to overcome against some teams.”
Mars, which finished second in the section last year and 15-8 overall, hopes to return to the WPIAL playoffs. The Planets dropped a 56-31 decision to Elizabeth-Forward in a first-round game last year.
Joe Sager is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Kittanning senior Kunst shoots lights out at Cager Classic skills event
- Cager Classic notebook: Highlands, Mars players bury hatchet for the weekend
- Tough seasons to end on high note for girls at Cager Classic
- High school basketball notebook: Aliquippa motivated by loss in PIAA title game
- Division I-bound duo to lead East girls team at Cager Classic
- Blackhawk girls beat Archbishop Wood, defend PIAA hoops title
- PIAA committee wants to revive western final
- Jeannette’s season ends with loss against Farrell
- Former assistant Bellinotti named new Burrell head coach
- Aliquippa boys’ bid for undefeated season ends with loss in PIAA Class AA title game
- Seton-La Salle coach’s system validated with back-to-back berths in WPIAL finals