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Latrobe girls set playoff goals for coming season

| Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012, 8:52 p.m.
Greater Latrobe senior Kaity Finley (left) drives on junior Taley Dunaway during practice on November 28, 2012 in Latrobe. Eric Schmadel | Tribune-Review

Expectations are high for the Latrobe girls basketball team this season.

The Wildcats hope to snatch a Section 1-AAAA playoff spot after finishing 5-17 overall last year.

“I think that's a realistic goal for this team,” coach Greg Fenton said. “If we can try and get the fourth-place finish in the section and make the playoffs. Norwin, Hempfield and Penn-Trafford are strong teams. They're the cream of the crop and certainly we'll try and play with them, but the realistic goal for this team is fourth place and making the playoffs.”

This year, Latrobe is returning a relatively young group of starters, including top scorers Emma Kate Womack and Taley Dunaway, both juniors. Womack missed 10 games last year due to injury and is hoping to improve.

“I kind of felt like I let everyone down. It wasn't fun for me either to sit out,” Womack said. “I practiced a lot over the summer, and hopefully it shows this season and my shooting percentage goes up.”

In addition, Fenton hopes to bank on the experience gained last season, while improving upon turnovers.

“Last year, the biggest problem we had on our young team was turnovers,” Fenton said. “We're trying to get an emphasis this year on making all of our possessions count. Last year, not only did we turn the ball over, but the other team went down for uncontested layups or easy layups and that wasn't helping us.”

Latrobe will also have to overcome the height obstacle it will face, with many of the Wildcats standing at around 5-foot-7.

“We are extremely small, we don't have much height at all so rebounding is going to be a key for us,” Fenton said. “We do have a lot of quickness since we have a lot of small players. We are hoping we can do some things that will play toward our quickness. We are working hard on our ball-handling and making better decisions not only in the fast break, but our offense.”

The Wildcats welcome freshmen Maddy Kollar and Jess Havrilla alongside sophomore Anna Ayers.

“We haven't really been having great seasons,” returning senior Kaity Finley said, “but we always try our best and maybe this year will be the year that we do make the playoffs with the younger girls as assets to the team.”

The Wildcats have used clinics and summer camps to adapt to the addition of new talent, while working on improving their weaknesses for the upcoming season. The coaching staff can't ask for more.

“The girls are working really hard and the coaching staff is very pleased with the intensity and the desire that they have in practice,” Fenton said. “Hopefully, it will carry over to this season. We had a lot of girls play a lot of minutes last year, and hopefully when we get into the season and start playing games that experience will help them down the road that they have been in situations like that before and it will show.”

Brittany Goncar is a freelance writer.

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