Highlands girls basketball excited about prospects for new season

Wednesday, December 9, 2020 | 5:43 PM

The Highlands girls basketball team is ready to surprise people this season.

With a young roster featuring just one senior, coach Courtney Udanis is excited about what her team might be able to do.

“We have a really good group of freshmen coming up, and we’re pretty ecstatic, especially after thinking we weren’t going to be able to play and now, we’re going to be,” Udanis said. “We’re just really excited. We were a young team last year, and we have a lot of players back who were starters last year, and I think we’re going to come out and surprise a lot of teams.”

Early in December, the Highlands school district postponed winter sports until mid-January. They reversed that decision Monday and approved winter sports teams to resume practice immediately.

The Golden Rams went 2-20 last season and averaged just 31 points a game while allowing 60.3. But they also played in a section that included perennial powerhouse North Catholic, Freeport and Knoch. This season, with new opponents such as Deer Lakes, Valley and Derry, the Golden Rams are optimistic.

“In the past, we’ve really struggled, but this year we’re going to turn it around I think,” Udanis said.

After starting as a sophomore last season, Maria Fabregas is back. The 5-foot-5 junior guard will play an even bigger role this season.

“She’s been working hard ever since we left school in March,” Udanis said. “I mean, she’s been working her butt off, getting better. She’s going to be a huge one for us.”

The Golden Rams also return senior guard Julia DeSanto, who has started the past three seasons, as well as 5-11 junior center Jocelyn Luzier, who has started the past two years.

With four new freshmen coming in and three sophomores on the roster, the Golden Rams were looking forward to meshing in the offseason, but the coronavirus pandemic interrupted that.

“It’s a young team, and they haven’t really gotten a chance to play together yet so we are going to try and figure it out as we go and figure out what works best with this group,” Udanis said.

But the Golden Rams are motivated to turn the program around.

“I try to tell our girls in practice we can’t settle for being mediocre,” Udanis said. “In the past, that’s kind of been the mentality, that mediocre was OK, but we can’t settle for that. We can be so much better, so we have to push ourselves to be better.”

Highlands girls at a glance

Coach: Courtney Udanis

Last year’s record: 2-20 (Section 1-4A)

Returning starters: Julia DeSanto, Sr., G; Maria Fabregas, Jr., G; Jocelyn Luzier, Jr., F

Top newcomers: Casey Teribery, Fr., F; Zoey Celko, Fr., G; Jocelyn Bielak, Fr., G; Kalleigh Nerone, Fr., G

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@triblive.com or via Twitter .


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