Consistency's the goal for Knoch girls
Sean O'Donnell knows it's going to take some time to build consistency at Knoch.
After all, he is the girls basketball team's third coach in three years.
"No matter how you try to keep things the same, you're also changing things," said O'Donnell, a St. Joseph graduate. "A lot of these girls had a different ninth-grade coach, too. It's going to be a challenge for me and the girls."
Knoch was 7-13 last season and must replace a talented player in Hannah Novotny, who is now at Penn State Behrend. Senior guard Taylor Zonts received the most playing time last season and will be a vital part of the offense.
It appears Zonts will be joined in the lineup by junior guard Katie Miller, senior guard-forward Haley Williams, senior forward Heather Cooper (5-foot-11) and sophomore guard Sam Logan (5-9).
Knoch averaged just 36.6 points last season, but O'Donnell is stressing defensive fundamentals.
"I know one thing," he said. "We're going to play good, hard defense. And I am going to coach to the ability of my players."
Three important reserves are junior guard Rachel Neff, junior guard-forward Amber Henzel (5-9) and junior guard-forward Brooke Armahizer. Rising 5-8 freshman guard Celina Sanks also could get some minutes.
Knoch made the playoffs two years ago in Curt Vasas' last year with the team. O'Donnell replaced Rob Greenleaf, who is now the boys coach at Ford City. O'Donnell coached the junior high boys team at Knoch and has never coached girls.
He sought guidance from his former coach, Kelly Robinson; the boys coach at St. Joseph, Robinson used to coach the Highlands girls.
"We've been talking a lot," O'Donnell said. "It's definitely different coaching girls. It's a different mentality."
Knoch opens Dec. 10 against Aliquippa in the Springdale tournament.