November 26, 2021

Homer girls hoops set for grueling schedule

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The Homer girls basketball team finished 6-7 in last year’s abbreviated season. That included a stretch of four wins in five games earlier in the season followed by four consecutive losses.

All but one player from that team returns with a chance to prove the problems that came up during the losing streak are gone.

According to head coach C.J. Kudla, those tough games the team played last year will help this year’s squad be successful.

“The biggest thing that’s going to help is the experience we bring this year,” Kudla said. “We have three girls who are playing together for the fourth year, so they know the defensive system. We’ve just got to play as a team defensively, get the plays down and be responsible on offense and we’ll be fine.”

The Trojans will be fine thanks to their returning big three; senior Gracie Patriarco, senior Sarah Sovocool and junior Catherine Apker. Patriarco led the team last year in scoring at 16.0 points per game. Sovocool was the leader in assists at 2.8 per game and Apker led in rebounds, 6.8 per game, and made three pointers, 2.0 per contest. Having those three will give Homer the best chance to turn things around in 2021-22.

“It (Having Patriarco, Sovocool and Apker) takes a lot of the burden off me because they know the plan and they know the system,” Kudla said. “I can trust them out there. They know what to do against certain zone defenses and man-to-man defenses.”

The Trojans have one thing this year that last year’s team didn’t — size. With Fiona Hartnett now on the team, she gives Homer that big they have been missing in recent years.

“We have more of an interior presence this year,” Patriarco said. “Fiona Hartnett is definitely going to be a big piece of our offense this year as a post player. It’s what we lacked last year. Smaller girls like me would be in the post, so I’m excited to have an actual post player this year.”

The one player who isn’t returning is Katlyn Sovocool, Sarah Sovocool’s sister. Even though the rest of the team is coming back, Katlyn Sovocool’s absence has been noticed by the team.

“Without her (Katlyn Sovocool) it’s going to be really tough but I believe we can still be successful,” Sarah Sovocool said. “We have some new girls joining us so we’re going to help them get better and hopefully have a great season,”

Another challenge for the Trojans will be the schedule. They play four games in the month of December, then average a game every three days in January. The key to winning those games, according to Apker, will be team chemistry.

“Definitely becoming a big team (will be key),” Apker said. “We have a whole bunch of new girls, so bonding and getting everyone up to speed is important. And us three (Patriarco, Apker and Sarah Sovocool) have to work our butts off. It’s going to be a hard season, but that’s the fun of it.”

Homer’s first game of the year is at 7 p.m. Dec. 3 at home against Skaneateles. It is the first day of a two-day tournament that also includes LaFayette and Moravia.