MAHOPAC, N.Y.— There is plenty for the Mahopac girls basketball program to be hopeful for after reaching the quarterfinals of the Section 1 Class AA playoffs last season, where it fell to New Rochelle.
“This year we are going to have to be a team that relies on girls who did not get a lot of playing time last year,” Mahopac coach Chuck Scozzafava said. “The whole sophomore squad has got to pick it up. The four girls that have been with me the past four years have a lot of work to do too.”
For a team that lost its top scorer from last season in Carly Pease, playing together will be the key this season.
“Carly was about a third of our offense,” Scozzafava said. “We have to be supportive. Everybody has to do their thing whether it is being a good defender, rebounder or inside scorer. We need to help our guards a lot in order to get through this year and we must play excellent defense.”
One goal which has already been set for Mahopac this season is to hold opponents to less than 40 points per game.
“We focus a lot on defense,” senior Allison Reilly said. “We are going to take a lot of pride in it this year. Our defense should be talking more and we need to stay on our toes while staying strong all four quarters.”
Returning senior Amanda Geyer is expected to run the point once again alongside fellow senior shooting guard Kim Schiera. Senior forwards in Reilly and Amanda McCarney are the team’s anchors down low.
These four senior Indians came to the varsity squad as freshmen in the same year that Scozzafava took over the program.
“We know each other enough to jell,” Reilly said. “It’s just about getting the skills back together after the offseason. We are on the same page with everything and we know what [the coaches] want from us.”
The Indians are running a new offense this season which they hope will be successful.
“We’re going with a whole new offense,” Geyer said. “This offense incorporates a lot more backdoor screens that will let us score more layups.”
Forwards who will most likely receive a boost in playing time are juniors Claire Felix and Siobhan Hynes. Sophomore shooting guard Zina McInerney is also preparing to pitch in more this season.
“What I’m looking for is not so much big things from any one person,” Scozzafava said. “I am looking for the eight or nine girls who got significant playing time last year to make their contribution. If we can get them to be consistent each game that will go a long way in helping Amanda at the point.”
Geyer agreed that certain underclassmen are prepared to take on the task.
“Claire Felix particularly does well at driving to the basket and drawing the foul,” Geyer said. “She gets scrap points from putbacks or from getting down the court fast enough so that I can pitch the ball up to her.”
This season is going to begin uniquely as the Indians host Newburgh Free Academy in the Inaugural Mahopac Tip-Off Classic on Friday at 7 p.m. Depending on whichever team wins, Mahopac is scheduled to play either Somers or Peekskill the next day with the championship game at 5 p.m. and consolation contest at 1 p.m.
“We expect to encourage and motivate the underclassmen while always having a positive attitude and work ethic,” Geyer said. “We should have a solid defense considering it has been a main focus throughout these past years.”