Troy High girls basketball has fresh chance at success

By: Mark Vest | Troy Times | Published December 18, 2018

 Troy High sophomore Lauren Gumma puts the ball up against Utica Ford II Dec. 11. At press time, Troy was off to a 3-1 start.

Troy High sophomore Lauren Gumma puts the ball up against Utica Ford II Dec. 11. At press time, Troy was off to a 3-1 start.

Photo by Sarah Purlee

 Troy High freshman Kendal Zeiter advances the ball during a recent game against Utica Ford II. Troy coach Simon Bato said the Colts have eight returning players.

Troy High freshman Kendal Zeiter advances the ball during a recent game against Utica Ford II. Troy coach Simon Bato said the Colts have eight returning players.

Photo by Sarah Purlee

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TROY — Perhaps one of the best things about sports is that every year it offers a fresh start for both teams and individuals.

After finishing 8-13 last season, Troy High girls basketball has been taking advantage of the program’s clean slate, as at press time, the Colts were off to a 4-1 start.

“Right now, we’re in the process of just trying to get better every day,” said Troy coach Simon Bato. “I don’t discuss last year with the team too often. While we do have eight returning players, every year it’s a different team and different strengths, different weaknesses.”

Aside from saying his team has been working “extremely hard,” Bato evaluated some of the other strengths of this season’s squad, which includes four seniors, four juniors, three sophomores and a freshman.

“I think we’ve got a good balance of both older and younger kids,” Bato said. “I feel like the girls are working well with one another; the girls get along really well, and they’re pushing each other every day in practice.”

The process of trying to improve can be a lot easier with multiple returning players on the squad.

“It’s very beneficial,” Bato said. “Right now, we have three kids in the program who are in their third full season playing varsity basketball. Some of our younger girls are learning from some of the older, more experienced players. It’s always beneficial to have good leadership, which I feel like we have.”

Emily Olson, who captains the team along with Nisha Bhargava, has noticed the benefit of having a veteran squad.

“It’s really helpful, especially at practices,” Olson said. “Everyone already knows the drills and the plays, so just having eight people that can help the new people be leaders, that’s really helpful. And it really helps the new girls too; just get them up to speed really quickly. They’ve done a great job jumping in.”

One way to help make this a memorable season for Olson and her teammates would be to finish on top of the Oakland Activities Association White Division. The Colts were 1-0.

According to Bato, the program hasn’t won a division championship since 2005.

And although Bato acknowledged that it would be special to win an OAA White title, the team’s next practice is more likely to get his attention than winning a championship.

“We just focus on trying to get a little bit better every single day. And hopefully, we’re in the mix in our league by the end of the season,” Bato said.

Up next, Troy plays at 7 p.m. Dec. 20 at home against Farmington High.

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