By Isi Frank Ativie
For the Bugle
The word “hope” is definitely something that the Maine East’s girls’ basketball team needs to take in consideration.
After finishing a disappointing 6-19 record last season, the Blue Demons are waiting to redeem themselves by rebuilding their program and adding a new coaching staff.
New head coach Jill Kowalysyzn feels very confident to start this upcoming regular season.
“I have a lot of confidence,” Kowalysyzn said. “It’s pretty tough to get everyone on board, because coach Kain and I are new into this program. And we’re trying to bring in all of these changes at once, but we have been training extremely hard during the off season; we just want to put everything together and let our performance show on the court.”
Kowalysyzn took over the head coaching position last March after replacing Karol Hanusiak, who had led the Blue Demons to a couple of winning seasons (2013-14 and 2015-16).
Despite starting this season with a 0-4 record in their Thanksgiving tournament, Maine East pictured themselves as the ultimate underdogs.
“It’s a learning curve,” Kowalysyzn said. “We need to communicate on offense and defense more, as well as keeping up with the consistency, pace, and aggressiveness. We also need to make all of our shots follow through and run our offense correctly.”
Junior point guard and Co-captain Caya Apostolou wasn’t very happy with their team’s recent performance during the tournament.
“We need to focus on talking, and we have a problem on rushing the ball a lot as well as playing smart basketball.” Apostolou said. “Our confidence isn’t there yet, but it will come later in this season.”
The Blue Demons are currently placed 6th in the Central Suburban League North Division, and they’re hoping to turn around this season by starting a winning stretch. Senior point guard Olga Goumas will return to the team this season after recovering from a serious ACL injury that she sustained. Shooting guard Alyssa Valle and forward Daniela Vertucio are the only freshmen on Maine East’s varsity roster; those underclassmen hope they can adjust to the intensity of high school basketball.
“They’re still in that eighth grade mentality of learning the game and making small rookie mistakes, but they’re kind of grooving themselves into high school basketball.” Kowalysyzn said.
Seniors Jackie Buczkowski and Abby Adamu are also planning to help lead this team to a better direction this season
“We’re just going to take this season game by game.” Kowalysyzn stated.