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DeStazio’s high-scoring Comets picked to take title

Genoa girls basketball coach Mike DeStazio added that the Comets, who were picked by the coaches to win the Northern Buckeye Conference title ahead of Lake, plan to run up and down the court this season.

“People better be in shape to play us,” he said. “We’re going to have a lot of depth. If we stay healthy and continue to improve on our basketball skills to match our athleticism, we could be very good. When you’re picked first, you have to work that much harder to finish first. The league is so even, they could have picked any one of four teams to win it.”

Albright
Genoa guard Ciara Albright drives to the basket
in last year's Northern Buckeye Conference
match against Otsego. (Press file photo by
Harold Hamilton/HEHphotos.smugmus.com)

Genoa returns four starters and six letter winners from last year’s team, including senior Ciara Albright, its leading scorer last season. The guard averaged 16.6 points and 5.3 rebounds.

“We were young in key spots last year,” DeStazio said. “We started three juniors and a freshman point guard (now sophomore Haley Pickard). I have five sophomores on the varsity, but we’re not starting from scratch teaching a whole lot this year. We implemented a lot this summer (whereas) the last two years we constantly had to start over. Now, we’re building instead of starting over.”

DeStazio said Albright might be the best all-around player in the league, plus he has a transfer expected to contribute.

“I have other kids who can score this year, and I think that’s going to free her up. I expect a big year out of her.”

Five-foot-11 sophomore Erica Harder went to St. Ursula Academy last year but moved back to Genoa.

“When I moved Carly Gose up to varsity last year, she averaged five rebounds a game for me, and she has to be as quick and as competitive a kid as I’ve ever coached,” DeStazio said. “She’ll give us a lot of depth at guard. Erica, I think, has the potential to play at the next level. You never have to tell her to play hard. She gets after it. Christy is another sleeper. She has improved so much and will back up Brynn at the post spot. She’s impressing me quite a bit.”

Former Eastwood coach Jim Gracyk, now at Lake, says his Flyers will have something to say about that. After finishing tied for second with Rossford in conference play, the bad news for the rest of the NBC contenders is that the Flyers may be even better in 2013-14.

Woodmore has played two games, both losses, and coach Kyle Clair sees their lack of execution on offense as the primary reason for their struggles and plans to remedy that for league play.

“The silver lining in our first two games is that we have had our weakness exposed,” he said. “Our challenge is to improve offensively. Our defense creates many opportunities for us and our transition game is right where it should be, but we do not finish well and reward our defensive efforts. We need leaders to emerge offensively and this can’t be done by just one person.”

Eastwood brings in former Maumee junior varsity coach Lindsay Ross, and although picked to finish near the bottom, she hopes her first year will set the tempo.

“We do have quick players who can apply pressure,” Ross said, adding that the NBC appears to be spread out with talent.

“The league seems to be pretty even,” she said, “and I think any team could beat anyone. It will be a battle this season — and we will be competitive.”

(Press sports editor J. Patrick Eaken and writers Mark Griffin, Yaneek Smith, and Jeffrey D. Norwalk contributed.)

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