Harmony girls back with another year of experience under their belts|
Monday, December 3, 2012
By Andy Stine Sports Writer
WESTOVER - The Harmony girls basketball team fell on hard times last year with the youngest team in the area. The Lady Owls ended the season with an 0-22 record and return six letterwinners from last year's team.
Although the team didn't record a victory last year, head coach Ralph Butterworth says Harmony has been much improved and expects better things to come from a young, but more experienced team for the 2012-13 campaign.
"Practice has been going good," said Butterworth. "The girls have been tremendous. They're focused. They do not want a repeat of last year. It was just a rough year last year. They're working hard to regain some of their pride."
"With the letterwinners, it's deceiving. Out of the 12 girls we have out this year, we have two seniors. We have two juniors, and one junior is new and hasn't played for a while and the rest are sophomores."
Along with the boys team, the Lady Owls will not be able to host any games for the first month of the season due to the school's gymnasium being renovated. However, Butterworth says the team is still fortunate enough to hold practices at the school, rather than being sent to a nearby school to practice.
"Originally, we had a choice of shutting the whole gym down and trying to find a place to practice with all away games," said Butterworth. "That would've been very hard, or they would've waited until spring, but that would've messed up baseball and softball indoors for March.
"They came up with a compromise that they were going to come in early, work during the day, get cleaned up and we'll be able to open the gym up at 3 to practice with no games."
"What is nice is December is pretty much a short month anyway. The school was super with us. They accommodated us and they helped us out. They switched the games, which isn't easy to do this late in the year."
One of the biggest pieces to last year's scoring for the Lady Owls comes back in junior Lindsay Welteroth. Welteroth, a Progressland honorable mention pick last season, scored 165 of the Lady Owls' 428 total points on the season.
Butterworth expects Welteroth and seniors Santana Woodley and Deidra Woodward along with junior newcomer Breanne Stiver to be sparkplugs for the offense that struggled to score points last season.
"We've improved a lot from last year, but we're still young," said Butterworth. "We've got some good older leadership. Santana, Deidra and Lindsay are really solid as leaders. Breanne Stiver has came in, and she's such a solid person in the lineup. She's a good role model for the girls, but we're still young."
Although Harmony had a season to forget last year, that isn't stopping the Lady Owls from believing in a successful campaign this year. One of the goals for the Owls this season is to finish the season at .500 or perhaps even better.
"It's a tall order," said Butterworth. "All of the teams are going to be tough in the Mo Valley League. If you look at last year, a lot of the teams (in the MVL) were senior dominated. We're hoping that maybe we can be more competitive.
"They lost their seniors and maybe they're going to be a younger team like we are and we can be more competitive. Instead of freshmen playing against seniors, maybe it's going to be more sophomores playing against juniors or less-experienced seniors.
"We're hoping it's going to be better balanced in the league rather than us being the low man on the pole."
Harmony will kick off its season on Friday at the Portage Tip-Off Tournament.
"We have a good bunch of girls," said Butterworth. "We have some things to work on. They're working hard and they really want to do well. You have to succeed with that type of attitude."
*Santana Woodley, *Deidra Woodward.
Breanne Stiver, *Lindsay Welteroth.
*Joleen Brink, *Shannon Dyda, Hayley Hull, *Stephanie Maseto, Autumn Mulhollen, Roza Nalley, Alyssa Raho, Nikki Wortman.
7-8-at Portage Tip-Off Tournament, TBA; 11-at Glendale; 14-at Purchase Line, 8 p.m.; 17-at Blacklick Valley; 19-at Curwensville; 28-29-at Cambria Heights Tournament, TBA.
2-at Moshannon Valley; 7-Claysburg-Kimmel, 6 p.m. (varsity only); 8-West Branch; 10-Curwensville; 16-Blacklick Valley; 18-Northern Cambria; 21-Punxsutawney; 23-Moshannon Valley; 28-Purchase Line; 31-at West Branch.
1-Brockway, 6 p.m. (varsity only); 4-at Claysburg-Kimmel; 6-Glendale; 11-at Brookville, 6 p.m. (varsity only).
Games start at 7:30 p.m. unless noted.