SPRING VALLEY — For the Hall Lady Red Devils, this basketball season will be a learning experience for players and coaches alike.
First-year varsity coach TJ Orlandi has three seniors, five juniors and one sophomore to work with, with the odd number already necessitating some adjustments.
“It’s been a little more difficult already when we’re trying to do 5-on-5 stuff, I’ve got to pull someone from the JV (itself a nine-player roster) or vice versa when they need help,” Orlandi said. “Sometimes, I or one of the other coaches have to step in. We’re just trying to do what we can.”
Orlandi takes over the head coaching position left open by Brian Holman, whom Orlandi learned a lot from as JV girls coach in the previous two years.
“I’m glad I had those two years to get to know the girls and work under coach Holman,” Orlandi said. “I saw the way he does things and I learned. That helped a lot.”
Leading the way for the seniors is three-year varsity member Hanah Hart, who at guard or forward is a player not to turn your back on.
“With a new coach, people may be counting us out, but I think we’ll do fine,” Hart said. “We just want to win, and we’ll try our hardest.”
Teanna Cattani and Rachael Kobold are the other seniors.
“Teanna and Rachael got a few minutes last year, now they’ll get a lot more,” Orlandi said. “I think they’ll be ready to step up for us.”
Juniors on this year’s squad include Jaclyn Cinotte, Kylie Craig, Taeja Foster, Emalyn Keutzer and Zoe Morris.
“Zoe was kind of a ‘sixth man’ last year and got some good experience on the varsity level,” Orlandi said. “So she’s one that we expect to take that next step, and I’ve seen a lot of improvement in practice.”
Morris added, “It’s really exciting with a whole new team this year. I think everybody’s going to be able to contribute, because we all have something to bring to the team. I think we’ll do really good this year.”
Mia Mautino will be the sophomore to step up and dress for the varsity squad this season.
Orlandi and his assistant coaches, Mark Mautino and Becca Herrmann, know there’s a lot to do in a short time with their first game fast approaching.
“It’s kind of a crunch amount of time to get as much as we have to, to be ready,” Orlandi said. “We play on the 20th and play four games in four days. It comes quick to get ‘em ready for that.”
Lady Devils at a glance
Conference: Three Rivers East.
Coach: TJ Orlandi (first year).
Last year: 21-9.
Who’s back: Tea Cattani (Sr., 5-6/G), Jaclyn Cinotte (Jr., 5-4/G), Hanah Hart (Sr., 5-9/F), Rachael Kobold (Sr., 5-6/G-F), Zoe Morris (Jr, 5-7/F).
Who’s new: Kylie Craig (Jr.), Taeja Foster (Jr.), Emalyn Keutzer, (Jr.), Mia Mautino (So.).
First game: Wednesday, Nov. 20 at Oregon Tip-Off Classic, 5:45 p.m. vs. West Carroll.
Last year’s advancement: Lost to Winnebago 50-29 in sectional finals.