BERWYN – There will be plenty of new faces around the Morton girls basketball team, but first-year coach Joe Maietta still believes the program is headed in the right direction.
Maietta takes over for Craig Madzinski after assisting Madzinski for the past two years. His familiarity with the program and the players has eased the transition.
“We’re not doing any drastic changes,” Maietta said. “On my end, just being in control of the whole program is probably the biggest adjustment.”
Many of the top players from last year’s teams are gone. Top scorers Neriangela Velez and Isza Gonzalez have graduated and other departures have left a lot of spots up for grabs in early practices.
There are still some experienced players back though. Sophomore guard Chloe Maietta, daughter of the coach, started every game after Christmas last year. Junior point guard Shannon Fricke contributed last year and has impressed her coach early on.
Junior post Jasmine Morris was a varsity contributor last year and should do the dirty work inside.
“I expect her to be a big inside presence, battling, rebounding and inside scoring,” Joe Maietta said.
Senior Genesis Trevino figures to see the most minutes of four seniors on the roster. Ruth Murillo, Alyssa Manzanarez and Alexis Chlada round out the senior class. Chlada didn’t play basketball last year, but is a good athlete. She was a key player for the volleyball team this fall.
Maietta said the strength of the team lies in its speed and ability to get up and down the court, but they will need to defend well to make up for the lost scoring.
“We’re going to concentrate on defending a little bit more this year,” he said. “Last year we just wanted to outscore people. I don’t see that power boost where a Nene Velez or an Isza Gonzalez can give you 25 [points] in any game. We’re concentrating on creating turnovers and getting offense out of that.”
Junior track standout Janeka Stokes and sophomore Brianica Johnson add more depth and athleticism to the Mustangs.
“Two of the quickest kids I’ve seen on a basketball floor,” Maietta said.
Coach: Joe Maietta
Conference: West Suburban Gold
2012-13 record: 14-14, 6-6 WSG
First game: 7:30 p.m. Thursday vs. Thornton Fractional North
Shannon Fricke jr. G
Chloe Maietta so. G
Jasmine Morris jr. F/C
Genesis Trevino sr. F
Alexis Chlada sr. G
Brianica Johnson so. G
Alexis Sauceda jr. G/F
Janeka Stokes jr. G