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Lancaster High School basketball preview 2012-13

Lancaster may have finished 5-14 last season, but it may be a few plays and buckets away from turning that around. (File photo)

Redskins looking to turn close losses into wins

A year ago, the Lancaster High School boys basketball team showed it could battle with some of the top big schools in Western New York.

Unfortunately for the Redskins, more often than not they came up a little short and the end result was a 5-14 record.

This season’s crew is working hard to change those fortunes in 2012-13.

“We competed in just about every game but wins and losses weren’t where we wanted them to be,” second-year coach John Otto said. “I think we shouldn’t have a problem beating last year’s record, that’s for sure.”

Adding victories won’t be an easy task as Lancaster’s schedule is as tough as anyone around. But a spirited few weeks of practices gave Otto the confidence that this year’s Redskins are ready to go.

“They’re all very much into putting forth a team effort,” Otto said. “They’re not afraid to get on each other when they need it and they take it in a good way.”

A strong senior class will lead the Redskins this season. Guard Sean Murray is back after scoring 8.3 points per game and hitting a team-best 32 3-point buckets as a junior. Jacob Plonka is also back after missing his junior season due to injury.

Mac Garby and Colin Stotz saw some action in the starting lineup as juniors last year. Gary Kostek and Steve Musso are also expected to contribute this season.

“Everyone’s helping each other out,” Otto said. “They all work well together. It’s a real good group to be around.”

Competing in ECIC Division I is never easy. With the likes of Jamestown, Williamsville North and Frontier, all in Class AA’s Final Four, the Redskins will have their hands full every night as they try to climb the ladder.

“Our league’s going to be tough from top to bottom,” Otto said. “Jamestown’s probably still the crème of the crop, so that’s what we’re shooting for.”

The Redskins also scheduled three top tournaments to get ready for that competition, starting with a clash against perennial power Maryvale in the Lancaster Tip-off Tournament.

Lancaster will play O’Hara in the ECIC-MMAA Challenge on Dec. 10 and will face rival Depew on Dec. 27 in the Wildcats Holiday Tournament, which also includes St. Mary’s and City Honors.

Lancaster’s solid mix tries to follow up memorable season

After a season to remember last year, the Lancaster High School girls basketball team is looking to continue that tradition of winning.

And despite losing some standout performers, the Redskins also have some weapons back to lead the way in 2012-13.

“It’s a new year — we certainly return some experience,” coach Karen Catalano said. “We return a nice core of experience.”

Lancaster finished last season 19-2 and won the ECIC Division I championship. But the season ended in heartbreak with a three-point loss to Lockport in the Section VI Class AA championship game.

This year’s club wants to finish that goal as well.

“The bar is always set high,” Catalano said. “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish and I hope that if nothing else that’s what they took from last season.

The Redskins lost seven seniors from that squad, including four-year standout Samantha Wozniak and current St. Bonaventure forward Katie Healy, who played her senior season at Lancaster after starring at Sacred Heart.

Among the key returnees will be junior forward Sarah Saba, who was second on the team last season with 13.7 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. She’ll serve as a tri-captain this season, her third at the varsity level.

“She’s just a dynamic player and an athlete,” Catalano said. “And this year, we’re looking for more leadership out of her as well.”

Tri-captain Kim Siresi will take over for Wozniak at point guard. As a junior, Siresi averaged 6.2 points per game and came on strong late in the season.

“She’s got a full-plate running the point,” Catalano said. “The way that she ended last season is certainly a confidence booster.”

The third tri-captain, Miranda Hardy, is expected to be a force inside. The 5-foot-10 senior is entering her fourth varsity season after scoring a little more than four points per game last year.

Her sister, Megan, is entering her first varsity season and Catalano called her “just a terrific athlete.”

Speaking of top athletes, the Redskins will also feature junior guard Allie Stewart, the Metro Source Player of the Year in lacrosse and also a standout in field hockey. Junior Lacey Stamp is also expected to make an impact at guard.

“We’ve got some basketball players who are surrounded by some nice athletes,” Catalano said.

Lancaster also welcomes back Joe Catalano, Karen’s father and a long-time Redskins’ head coach, who will serve as an assistant.

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