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Basketball Preview: Hamburg’s versatility, depth could keep it near the top

The 2012-13 Hamburg High School varsity girls basketball team includes, from left, first row: Jill Ford, Taylor Wolf, Gina Abulone, Christy Nolan, Alie Izzo and Amy Villarini. Second row: head coach Kelly Owens, Jordan Smith, Kendra Quinn-Moultrie, Leah Jones, Ally Salerno, Ashley Kabza, Kaley Reardon, coach Katie Medina and coach Jenea Smith.

So many seniors contributed to the success of last year’s Section VI finalist and ECIC II regular season champion Hamburg team that repeating a similar feat would seem difficult. However, Kelly Owens is not ruling it out.

The Bulldogs may be a very different team without their five contributing seniors from last season, but the turnover leaves vacancies for eager returning players and a group of talented up-and-comers.

Of Hamburg’s six returning players only senior forward Taylor Wolf was a starter. However, the Bulldogs will have three players around six foot, including Wolf, and a group of quick guards. The junior varsity also had a big season last year.

“To me, we’re young,” Owens said. “There’s a lot of talent there and one thing I do like about the team is that we should be able to do a lot of different things. It may take a little time to get there but I’m excited and I think they are too.”

“There’s always an adjustment period making the jump from JV to varsity, some do it quicker than others, so right now I think we’re in that transition phase but everybody is getting better everyday,” added Owens, coming off a 17-4 season.

Wolf became a force that helped Hamburg to the sectional final. The three-sport standout who’s Division I bound in lacrosse, can play on both ends of the floor with her size and athletic ability.
Senior Taylor Wolf is the lone starter back from Hamburg's Class A finalist team. She'll be joined in the lineup by an eager group looking for playing time. (Photo courtesy of Ron Larson)

Returning junior Kendra Quinn-Moultrie should contribute in the post and defensively underneath. Senior Christy Nolan is also back and should help in the post. Both players are 5-foot-10.

Junior Jill Ford is up from the junior varsity to take over at point guard. Alley Salerno, a third-year varsity player as a junior, should contribute at guard and be a mainstay on defense. Also back are seniors Gina Abulone and Allie Izzo, both of whom will see some time at either the small forward or shooting guard.

Hamburg has two other players with some size in sophomore Jordan Smith and junior Ashley Kabza, who will rotate in and out, giving Owens the option to play at times with a big lineup.

Sophomore Amy Villarini has been brought up to help at both the point and shooting guard spots, while juniors Leah Jones and Katie Reardon will also see time in the backcourt.

“I think we have a lot of versatility and at this point, it’s about putting it all together, finding out who can play where, what the lineup will look like and who works well with what we choose to do that particular night,” Owens said.

After winning the ECIC II regular season title last year and sharing it the year prior, Owens is hoping to be right there again, although she is unsure what the division will look like. Williamsville East is usually strong while Iroquois finished just a game behind Hamburg last year. Third-place Lake Shore is now in ECIC III.

Hamburg Girls 2012-13 Schedule
Thur., Dec. 6 at Clarence               7:30 pm
Tues., Dec. 11 vs Frontier               7:30 pm
Mon., Dec. 17 at Iroquois               4:45 pm
Fri., Dec. 21 vs Starpoint               7:30 pm
Thur., Dec. 27 Orchard Park Tourney    noon
Fri., Dec. 28 Orchard Park Tourney  TBA
Fri., Jan. 4 at W.S. East               6:30 pm
Tues., Jan. 8 vs. Will. South         7:30 pm
Fri., Jan. 11 at Will. East               7:30 pm
Tues., Jan. 15 at Sweet Home      7:30 pm
Thur., Jan. 24 vs Nardin               7:30 pm
Tues., Jan. 29 at Starpoint                    7 pm
Fri., Feb. 1 vs. W.S. West               7:30 pm
Tues., Feb. 5 at Will. South          7:30 pm
Thur., Feb. 7 vs. Will. East              7:30 pm
Mon., Feb. 11 vs Iroquois               7:30 pm
Wed., Feb. 13 vs Sweet Home     6:30 pm
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