HUNTINGTON STATION, New York, Dec. 25
BY: Andrew Wroblewski
The Lady Wildcats of Walt Whitman High School are still fighting to break out of their cage this basketball season. A slow start, hindered by three non-league setbacks and a 1-2 record in Suffolk’s League II, has Head Coach Daniel Trebour and the girls heading into winter break with work to do.
But Trebour and the Wildcats aren’t discouraged; they’re working.
“Now we have a little more time for practice, to work our butts off and really focus on the little things,” Trebour, the 16-year coach, said.
Offense will be one of those focuses, he said, as the team has so far struggled shooting the basketball. On Dec. 18, when the Wildcats (1-5) welcomed Central Islip (3-3) for a League II matchup, the girls struggled from the free throw line where they were just 6-for-16. Whitman ended up dropping the contest 45-37 in double overtime.
“We’re just really having trouble scoring,” Trebour said. “We’re down a couple of starters, Central Islip went zone late in the game and we just couldn’t score. As the game wore on, we didn’t get the stops and rebound we needed.”
On the bright side, though, he said, the Wildcats gave up just 45 points in a double overtime contest – that’s a game you have to win, he added.
“When you have trouble scoring you have to change up the defense – press, trap and scramble – but I don’t know if we’re a team built for doing that; it’s just not our dynamic,” he said. “We need to become more efficient shooting as a team.”
The loss stings. Trebour admitted heading into the break on a league loss is tough, but he sees the potential with this team. Some of that potential can be credited to junior Rose Pedretti and sophomore Rosa Portaro, both of whom are guards that have scored double-figure points in each of the Wildcats’ league contests this season.
“They’re really important to this team, especially knowing that they’re both coming back next season,” Trebour said. “They’ve both been scoring in different ways – off traps, in transition – and they’re both pretty versatile types of guards.”
Portaro, averaging 19 points per game in League II play, has knocked down 6 3-pointers in three games. Pedretti, on the other hand, has been able to fit into a guard-forward hybrid role late in games to post up and score her points in the point. The 5-foot-9 junior is averaging 17.3 points per game so far.
But the “R.P.”-duo hasn’t been the only bright spot, Trebour said. Camilee Getchell and Alexa DelColle – a pair of sophomores – have also been able to step in as first-year varsity players and make an impact.
“They’re playing a lot more minutes – good minutes, than I anticipated,” the coach said.
This weekend, the Wildcats get back on the floor with a non-league contest against Elwood John Glenn (4-1) at 12 p.m. on Saturday. After a couple of scrimmages next week, the Wildcats are back to league play on Jan. 6 with a trip to Connetquot (2-5) that’s scheduled to tip-off at 6 p.m.
Originally published: Long Islander News: The Long Islander
(Thursday, Dec. 25, 2014; A40)