Warren Regina basketball coach Diane Laffey doesn’t mince words when she talks about what her team needs to do to have a solid season.
“If we play defense, then we’ll be OK,” Laffey said prior to 45-40 setback against Grosse Pointe North Dec. 10.
The Saddlelites (1-1 at press time) are faced with a lack of size this season, Laffey said, adding that she’s hopeful the defense can create turnovers and instant offense.
Laffey, who also serves as athletic director at Regina, said the Saddlelites will utilize a pressing, trapping style on defense. That is aided by the fact that, Laffey said, the team can go as deep as 10 players in the event someone gets into foul trouble.
“Hopefully, we can get a lot of points in transition,” said Laffey, whose team went 9-13 in 2012-13. “We can run a halfcourt offense when we have to, but the more we get out in transition, the better.”
Regina senior guard Myranda Martin, one of three senior captains along with guard/forward Emily Davis and forward/center Erin Nelson, said she understands she and other perimeter players will have to play well this season to make up for that lack of size.
“The post players are putting in a lot of work in practice — boxing out, getting position for loose balls and finishing around the hoop,” said Davis, who added the Saddlelites will crash the glass on the defensive end.
Also making up for that lack of size could be the familiarity Regina players have with one another. The team of 14 features nine seniors. Laffey said having veteran players will help with taking care of the ball. The Saddlelites had 27 turnovers in a loss to Warren Cousino in a Class A district final last season.
Laffey said an emphasis was placed on eliminating turnovers in the offseason and during early season practices. She also said she expects the three captains to lead the way.
“They’re all seniors and all three played a lot of minutes last year,” Laffey said. “Hopefully, they’ll be leaders on and off the court.”
Nelson said the familiarity the players have with one another will be an asset, as the players have great chemistry and have put in a lot of work to ensure what happened against Cousino in last season’s playoffs doesn’t happen again.
“We have a trust in each other that we’ll put each other in the best position to succeed,” Nelson said.
Regina also hopes to succeed in the Catholic High School League Central Division. The Saddlelites went 0-8 in league play last season.
The Regina coach said Birmingham Marian, which went 6-2 to win the league last season, is loaded. Laffey said Farmington Hills Mercy, which finished 5-3 in league play last season, didn’t lose any players and should be strong, as well.
“We’ve got to battle with the other teams in our league for third place. That’s our goal,” Laffey said.
Another goal the girls set for themselves is playing in the CHSL finals Feb. 16 at Calihan Hall in Detroit.
“We’ve got to take care of some of the teams in our league,” Laffey said. “We’ve got to beat (Dearborn Divine Child) and (Livonia Ladywood), and hopefully, we can split with Mercy and Marian.
“But setting that goal on their own — that shows how much the girls want it. That’s a plus.”
Regina next will do battle against Southgate Anderson in a game set for 5:30 p.m. Dec. 28 at Anderson.