Lancers ready for another run at state championship

first_img Following a successful campaign last season, the St. John Vianney girls basketball team has its sights set on another championship run in 2011. With four junior starters, St. John Vianney made it to the NJSIAA Tournament of Champions (TOC) final, losing to Neptune, 67-48. This year, those four juniors will be back on the court. “With four returning starters, I believe we want another state championship,” head coach Dawn Karpell said. “We will try to make it back to where we were last year.” Seniors Missy Repoli (Colgate University), Katie O’Reilly (Lehigh University), Arron Zimmerman (American University) and Jackie Kates (University of Pennsylvania) have already signed their National Letters of Intent, but nothing would make them happier than to graduate St. John Vianney with another state championship (SJV won the TOC when they were sophomores in 2009). “It’s definitely an advantage having four returning starters. They know what it takes to play for this team, and they know the expectations,” Karpell said. Beyond St. John Vianney’s senior leadership, this season’s roster is composed of younger players that will be looked upon to fill important roles with the team. Karpell indicated that she has yet to see the rest of the depth chart shake out. However, Karpell was not overly concerned about the start of the season. She considered her team prepared after months of preparation. “They are all very dedicated. They work very hard,” Karpell said. “They did a great job getting themselves prepared in the fall.” Karpell also spoke about the importance for the younger players to catch on quickly, adding that it will take time for some of the younger girls to differentiate themselves from the rest. “It all depends on how quickly the younger players mature,” Karpell said. “We have a tough schedule this season. We are a very defensive-first team. If we stick to our defensive game plan, that will be a telling sign how well we do this season.” St. John Vianney will open the season against Cicero-North Syracuse on Sunday, Dec. 19 at the Festival of the Phoenix. The tournament will be held at Kean University. The team is slated to play Red Bank Regional the following day. BY MATTHEW ROCCO Correspondent last_img