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Lancaster girls basketball working way back to top

It’s a much different look for the Lancaster High School girls basketball team this season.

A year ago, the Redskins were undefeated, top-ranked in Western New York and were on their way to an ECIC-I championship.

Things are a little different this year. But the Redskins have continued to progress and hope to make their biggest impact come postseason time.

“I think we’re rebuilding from last year and working our way back to where we were last year,” said senior forward Miranda Hardy, one of four captains on the team. “It’s different not having some of those girls we had last year. But we’re getting better.”

Lancaster lost seven girls to graduation from last year’s 19-1 team, including leading scorer Katie Healy and four-year standout Samantha Wozniak. This year’s club sat at 6-3 in mid-January.

“We’re moving in the right direction,” coach Karen Catalano said after a January win over rival Clarence. “We’re getting everyone working hard in practice and we’re climbing that hill right now. It feels good to see that.”

A year ago, Healy, Wozniak and Sarah Saba comprised a trio that few opponents could even contain. Only Saba remains and she’s emerged onto one of the elite players in the area.

The junior forward leads the Redskins in scoring (19.3 points per game), rebounds (5.5 per game), as well as steals (27) and blocks (11).

“Sarah’s doing a nice job for us,” Catalano said. “She’s doing a real nice job of finding gaps — she’s been great for us.”

While offensive numbers may be down for the Redskins as a team, they’ve been able to make up for a lot of that with strong defense. Six of Lancaster’s first nine opponents scored less than 40 points.

The rest has been a lot of good old-fashioned team play and hard work on the court and in practice.

“I think we work really well together,” said forward Megan Hardy, another captain. “We’re able to push each other on the court and help make everyone better.”

Last year’s Redskins were the top-seed in the postseason reached the Class AA Section VI championship game before losing a heartbreaker to Lockport.

This year’s club won’t enter the postseason with the same hype, but they still expect to put together a solid run at a title.

“We have to work a lot harder and push ourselves a lot harder if we want do as well as we did last year,” Megan Hardy said.

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