Weekly Feature



2010-12-01 / Sports

Kenmore West girls have big shoes to fill

Girls Basketball
by MIKE MIGLIORE Reporter

Kenmore West’s Molly Booi brings the ball up court versus Williamsville East last Monday in a scrimmage at Kenmore West. The young Blue Devils have just one senior returning to the lineup and will look to replace some key departures this season. Photo by Scott Schild Purchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Kenmore West’s Molly Booi brings the ball up court versus Williamsville East last Monday in a scrimmage at Kenmore West. The young Blue Devils have just one senior returning to the lineup and will look to replace some key departures this season. Photo by Scott Schild Purchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com The Kenmore West Blue Devils experienced quite a turnover during the offseason between the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons.

The Blue Devils saw the stunning departure of three key players as twin sisters Jenna and Lexi Panepinto decided to play travel soccer instead of basketball and Charlotte Clark decided not to play as well.

“We felt like the Cleveland Cavaliers and our star players were taking their talents to South Beach,” said Kenmore West head coach Mike Licata, referencing NBA superstar LeBron James’ decision to sign with the Miami Heat this past summer.

The unexpected departure of those players left Licata without much senior leadership on his squad as Taylor Mundell is the only returning senior. Several juniors will make up the core of the Blue Devil team this season. The biggest name is five-foot-seven guard Jessica Jolley. Licata referred to Jolley as his “number one” player. Jolley was a starter last season on varsity as a sophomore and will be counted on to fill much of the void left when Clark and the Panepinto’s decided not to come back.

“She has to be a real leader on and off the court,” Licata said of Jolley.

Jolley was second on the team in points and points per game last season. She also led the team with eight blocked shots. Joining her in the projected starting lineup are Lauren Czarniak, Melanie Fisher, Taylor Smith and Mundell.

“I’m confident those are five good players,” Licata said. “We lost some experience and we lost some depth. It hurts us. We have some brand new ones; it could take a while to get used to.”

Mundell is one of the bigger girls on the Kenmore West roster at five-foot-ten. She’s gradually learned to become a smarter basketball player as she’s gained experience.

“She got a lot of playing time when things slowed down for her,” Licata said. “She has gotten a lot better basketball-wise.”

Work ethic will be a theme for the Blue Devils this season. Each Kenmore West opponent will be in for a battle as Licata will have his team fighting right until the end of every game.

“We have a very hardworking group,” Licata said. “We pride ourselves on how we defend and work. There’s no quit in them. They do all the dirty things – they get on the floor, they block, they rebound. They are a hardworking, smart team. They want to learn and they work hard to do it.”

Perhaps Kenmore West’s biggest obstacle will be the brutal league schedule they will face. Two of the best teams in Western New York reside in their division in Grand Island and Lockport.

“It’s no secret – Grand Island is fabulous,” Licata said. “I really feel that team has the potential to be state champions. They are that good. Lockport has a very good returning crew. They can challenge Grand Island. Those are two incredibly tough opponents in our league.”

Licata has a good gage at where his team fits in with the rest of the teams in the league, especially with Licata now in his 25th season of coaching the team. Realistically, he sees the Blue Devils as a team fighting to stay in the middle of the league standings.

“At this point, looking at one senior, three sophomores (Sharon Guarino, Marylouise Lindner and Elizabeth Gallagher) and a freshman (Danielle Hoare) in our lineup, I didn’t expect it to be a rebuilding year, but it is what it is.”

It might be tough for the Blue Devils to put together wins, especially after the departure of some of their best players from last season, but Licata expects the team to meet his goal of competing hard in every game.

“The best compliment we could get is to be a team that competes hard and other coaches are impressed with how we play,” he said. “Our passion is unparalleled. We may not measure up talent wise, but we can outwork people.”
Kenmore West 2010-11
Schedule
12-9 Mount St. Mary’s ..... 7 p.m.
12-6 Buffalo Seminary ..... 5 p.m.
12-9 at Kenmore West ..... 7 p.m.
12-17 at Lockport ........ 6:30 p.m.
12-21 Niagara Falls .......... 7 p.m.
12-29 Iroquois ................ 6:30 p.m.
12-30 Sweet Home ...... 6:30 p.m.
1-4 at Grand Island ..... 6:30 p.m.
1-7 at Lew-Port ................. 7 p.m.
1-11 Niagara-Wheatfield .. 7 p.m.
1-14 at North Tonawanda 7 p.m.
1-18 Kenmore East.......... 5:30 p.m.
1-21 Lockport ..................... 7 p.m.
1-25 at Lancaster ......... 7:30 p.m.
1-28 at Niagara Falls .. 6:30 p.m.
2-1 Grand Island ............... 7 p.m.
2-4 Lew-Port ...................... 7 p.m.
2-8 at Niagara-Wheatfield ... 6:30
p.m.
2-11 North Tonawanda .... 7 p.m.
2-16 at Kenmore East . 5:30 p.m.
e-mail: mmigliore@beenews.com

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