Girls off to a hot start
Win big. Breathe easier. Set a strong pace.
Northampton’s girls’ team is off and running.
After they lost to host Owen J. Roberts in their championship game, Northampton opened its East Penn Conference (EPC) schedule with three lopsided, 20-point-plus wins over Whitehall, Emmaus, and Pocono Mountain East.
The Kids have been pushing the ball and producing plenty of positives, racing out to a 4-1 start.
“They are teams with new coaches and are in the process of doing some rebuilding,” said Kids’ head coach Jeff Jacksits about the last three EPC opponents. “We were able to go out and play our game.
“But they were nice wins for us early, and it was good to get some of the younger girls into the lineup. We also have been running the floor well.”
Senior guard and Seton Hall recruit Victoria Keenan also returned to the Kids’ lineup after being sidelined with a knuckle injury. Keenan made her debut against Emmaus and scored a game-high 23 points.
“She (Keenan) hasn’t missed too much of a beat,” said Jacksits. “She is getting back into the flow of the offense and she is still a little rusty.
“But it’s great that she is out there with fresh legs. Her passing hasn’t missed a beat, and her shooting is right on target.”
Freshmen Taylor Kranzley and Kylie Gilliard continue to provide some added depth to the rotation.
“Both of them have been playing like upperclassmen,” said Jacksits. “They have played well and have blended right in.”
The Kids will have a good test this week with Parkland (Tuesday) and Nazareth (Friday). Senior post player Jenna Rogers, who had 32 points in a dominating effort against Pocono Mountain East, will be challenged.
Jacksits also wants to see his team get their long-range shooting back, as they converted only three of 15 attempts from the three-point line against Pocono Mountain East.
“We will have a good gauge of where we are this week,” said Jacksits. “Parkland has three girls who are six-foot or taller, and they like to play a half-court game.
“Jenna (Rogers) has been mixing it up pretty good and getting her share of rebounds. She’ll have to work this week, and it will be interesting to see how she does with Vickie (Keenan) back.”
The Kids will be spending the holidays closer to home in the Salisbury Holiday Tournament instead of their usual trip to State College.
“It was a lot of driving during a time when the weather can be bad,” said Jacksits. “We decided to be closer this year. We play Allen in the opener who isn’t on our schedule, and we could then play Pocono Mountain West, who we play later.
We’re off to a good start, and our younger players are meshing well with the older ones. We just have to keep the pace.”