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Sophomores thrown into the Lady Bruins rush

2019-20 St. Bede girls basketball preview

PERU — To prepare for the 2019 high school basketball season, there’s too much to do and not enough time to do it.

No one knows that better than St. Bede head girls basketball coach Tom McGunnigal.

“The tough thing about the sport is that we’ve got two weeks to prepare for the first game,” he said. “We kind of have to sprint a little bit to get ready for that preparation, and then you’ve still got three and a half months of basketball to play.

“The amount of things that can change from day one, it’s a bit chaotic right now, especially with six seniors returning but only five that can play, and trying to bring sophomores into the mix at the varsity level.”

One of biggest changes for the Lady Bruins will be the absence of standouts Maggie Sons, Naomi Ochuba, Carly Eustice and others who graduated last year.

Also different this season is the absence of juniors on the roster.

“It’s very strange, the first time I’ve ever had it,” McGunnigal said. “So I’m asking the sophomores to mature quicker. Fortunately, some of them have played travel basketball, so that’s a tremendous amount of help.”

Another change was one nobody wanted or even expected with the loss of senior Macy Bosnich, who after helping Sons pilot the offense at guard last year, will spend the season cheering her team from the sidelines in practice and competition.

Bosnich also missed out of the majority of the Lady Bruins’ volleyball season due to an ACL injury, which now deprives her basketball coach and team of a player who more than earned her place as a leader.

“No, it’s not fair at all, to Macy or the other girls,” McGunnigal said in agreement. “We’ve seen in volleyball how they benefited from her leadership, from her calm.

“She’s got to change the mode now and lead by example with her demeanor and her knowledge, she’s kind of an assistant coach for us now. That’s not an easy thing to do, but if anybody can to do it, she can.”

Among the seniors returning will be forwards Hannah Johnson and Christine Senica, and guards Abby Weber, Antonia Cattani and Kassidy Brady.

“Looking forward to playing my last year with my teammates,” Cattani said. “I’m interested to see how we do in our first game. After our last weekend of practices, I’m feeling pretty good about the season.”

Senica added, “We lost some skill players, but our sophomores are working hard in practice and really trying to prove they can play at the level we need them to.”

McGunnigal told his seniors he expects them all to “step up,” and he says they have.

“Christine has looked really well. She’s a leader, she’s an aggressive player,” he said. “Hannah has a lot of offensive ability, Kass Brady worked all summer on hitting shots, Antonia is aggressive like Christine but more on the perimeter.

“Abby Weber didn’t get a lot of time last year, but now I expect her senior experience to help us, especially in the early going.”

Nine sophomores are on the roster this season, with Ryann Stoudt and Lia Bosnich vying for the center position, with guards Grace Maschmann, Payton Giordano and Abby Nawa.

Other sophs at the guard position are Miranda Mazzorana, Abbie George and Leah Smudzinski, while Renn Ludford plays forward.

“I haven’t had much sleep since Thursday, it’s been constant think and evaluate,” McGunnigal said. “Who we are, what we need, and what exactly that looks like, and that’s part of my job.

“But you want to go out and give it the best effort, have them prepared as best you can, and I think we’re getting there.”

The Lady Bruins kick off their season on Monday night at the Geneseo Tournament.

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