In last year’s abbreviated season, the Cortland girls basketball team struggled. With a full off-season and full-length schedule ahead, however, the Purple Tigers are expected to improve with a majority of their roster returning.
“I am very excited about this season,” Cortland head coach Janice Meyer said. “Last year we had a very new, inexperienced varsity squad as well as a fast turnaround after a year shutdown. It showed and we struggled. I am very confident in the returners from that squad. I think at the very least, the time we had last season we can put under our belt, and it will help us transition into a full season where we will really see the strengths and athleticism of this team.”
Some key players are returning for the Purple Tigers, including their leading scorer from last year, senior Kirsten Merritt, and their second leading scorer, senior Margaret Starr.
“I know (Margaret and Kirsten) will hit the ground running and take charge and ownership of this year,” Meyer said.
Also returning for the Purple Tigers with more experience are seniors Danielle Benjamin and Sophia Ryan, juniors Mallory Turner and Ryleigh Larkin and sophomore Kendall Mack.
All will be expected to step up in the upcoming season.
“I fully expect all of them to take on bigger roles and find their role in this system here at Cortland,” Meyer said.
After not having a season in 2020 and having a complicated and shortened season in 2021 with little to no preparation, the Purple Tigers are prepared for a full-length schedule this season and are ready to make a run toward sectionals.
“I think last season we underestimated the importance of preparation, pre-season and even having an off-season,” Meyer said. “Especially players who make the jump from JV to Varsity — it is very different.
“I think we are all excited about this full season, a chance at sectionals and just to make our mark and to stamp our signature where we go. To say I am excited, that is certainly an understatement, too.”
Cortland begins its season on Dec. 2 when it travels to Chittenango to take on the Bears at 7:15 p.m.