MANLIUS — For the Bureau Valley Storm girls basketball team, a new season means a fresh start.
The last two years have been rebuilding years for the program, winning two games in as many years, but coach Tiffany Gonigam wants her team to believe things can turn around.
“We have not been able to be competitive the past two seasons, but this team has the ability to compete and win games,” Gonigam said. “My goal for them is to believe that and play with confidence. We should be competitive in the games we play and never lose sight of our potential.”
With four starters returning from last year’s team, the Storm has a reason to be optimistic.
Seniors Lacey DeVenney and Nicole Bornsheuer bring three years of varsity experience to the team and will be looked upon as leaders. DeVenney is an outside shooting threat and Bornsheuer, who averaged 7.3 points and 6.9 rebounds per game last season, will start at center.
Junior forwards Heaven Bennett (all-conference honorable mention) and Irini Petros (5.7 rpg) also return to the starting five.
Darcy Kepner will be called up from the sophomore ranks to fill the point guard role. She is coming off a successful season at the freshmen and sophomore ranks and dressed for the varsity team at the end of last season.
“She has shown our coaching staff and the team that she is both capable and ready to play at (the varsity) level,” Gonigam said. “We are excited to see the dynamics she brings to our team.”
Gonigam likes the depth of her team, noting foreign exchange student Helena Arnadottir being a welcome addition along with returning senior guards Christy Williams and Shannon Reuter. Rounding out the roster are juniors Valerie Reuter (F), Carlie Bickett (C), Taylor Zemke (C), Kelsey Kaiser (G) and Taylor Lally (G).
Bornsheuer, who stands around 6-2, along with a group of all junior post players, will give the Storm an advantage in the paint this year. Playing in the competitive Three-Rivers Conference, that will be important.
But the key for Gonigam comes back to building confidence in themselves. The Storm will get their first taste of regular season action starting Nov. 18 at the Princeton Holiday Tournament.
“As a team we need to work hard and play with one common goal,” Gonigam said. “We need to be confident about our ability to make improvements to the program and work hard to achieve the improvements we know we are capable of.”