Pine-Richland girls eager to climb section ladder

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Saturday, November 30, 2019 | 12:01 PM


The Pine-Richland girls basketball team is in the midst of a rebuilding phase and sports a roster that has youth and inexperience aplenty.

The reality of this rebuilding phase and what it entails isn’t lost on the Rams or their foes in Section 1-6A. What may be lost on their opponents, however, is how motivated the team is when it comes to accelerating their development after battling through a challenging 4-17 campaign in 2018-19.

“Reading on Twitter, you see some preseason rankings for our section, and we were at the bottom,” coach Tom Reighard said. “That’s just great locker room material for us. Get that up on the wall. Send it out to the group chat and say, ‘This is where we’re at. Do you want to stay down there? How hard are you going to work to move up that ladder?’ ”

The Rams have just two seniors and one junior this season, with the rest of the lineup being filled by freshmen and sophomores. Meghan Luellen is one of those seniors and will play an instrumental role as a starting guard.

The other upperclassmen, senior Olivia Mehalick and junior Ekaterini Balouris, are battling for rotational minutes. The same goes for the bulk of the 12 healthy players on the as Reighard said he is encouraging competition in order to sharpen his players’ skills.

There are a few interesting newcomers to keep an eye on in freshman Kaili Doctor and sophomore Sophie Catalano, both of whom were significant contributors to the Pine-Richland girls volleyball team this season. Doctor and Catalano both measure around 5-foot-10.

Sophomores Kaitlyn Kerns and Erica Weinberg are competing for playing time as well. Freshman Madelyn Laird could be a factor in the rotation, too, as she stands at over 6-foot and offers the team another down-low presence.

The specifics of how the team’s rotation will be filled out are sure to be a work in progress. One thing that is already determined, though, is the team’s character. Top to bottom, Reighard said his players are eager to compete.

“As I recently told a group of parents, ‘I can promise you that we’re going to be prepared to win every game. I can promise you that we’re going to be the hardest working team on the floor. I can’t promise you wins. But I can promise you that,’ ” the coach said. “The kids are prepared. They work hard and they want to be successful. They care about the team and they care about their teammates. That’s where we’re at right now, and it’s a good place to build from.”

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