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LCAA’S FINEST: Letchworth girls are ready to take that next step this season.

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By Chris Metcalf

LETCHWORTH – Letchworth girl’s basketball coach Chad DfeRock is excited to get the hoops season underway.

“I can’t help but be excited for this season,” coach DeRock said. “This is a great group of young ladies with an excellent work ethic and great attitudes. Last year’s record does not indicate how competitive we were as a team.  We found ourselves in the majority of games right to the end.  Five of our losses were by four or less points. Unfortunately, we had trouble finishing in the end. Closing out games is a blend of mental toughness and execution that comes best with experience. You can try to simulate those situations in practice but it is never the same.  Not only did the players learn from those tough losses last year but so did I.  We are hoping to be able to take a big step this year.”

Letchworth finished 5-16 a year ago but like DeRock said, several of those losses were very close, competitive games.

With six returning players, Letchworth will be a tough team to beat this season.

Returners include senior Alyssa Milillo (G), who averaged nine points a game last year.

Senior Abigale DeRock (Forward) and junior Emily Perl (Guard) also return along with sophomores Sasha Bellamy (Guard), Annika Milillo (Forward) and Charity Scott (Forward).

Last year Annika Milillo was a shot blocker and rebound specialist.

“Overall, we need to get better rebounding the ball and get to the foul line,” coach DeRock said. “I thought one of our biggest deficiencies came from the charity stripe. We didn’t get to the line enough and didn’t make free throws when we did get there shooting a dismal 37 percent. Those two things have been a point of emphasis through the beginning of the season. Undoubtedly our success or lack thereof will come down to our team dynamic. Each player fully understands the importance their role plays in our collective success as a team.  This is an unselfish group that roots for each other and we will need contributions from everyone to meet our season goals.”

Coach DeRock will need some new leaders to emerge this season he says.

“We will miss last year’s seniors Hana Gill and Morgan Brace,” he said. “They were tremendous leaders. Undoubtedly, this year’s seniors: Alyssa Milillo, Abbie DeRock, and Emily Perl will have to step it up and fill those roles.  I am confident they are ready to do that and trust their guidance.  I also think Annika Milillo, Sasah Bellamy, and Charity Scott are ready to make that jump in their sophomore campaign.  They showed glimpses of excellence last year as freshmen but also played with that hesitation you often see from younger players.  This year I see a different look in their eyes.”

Letchworth hosts Wellsville Friday in non league action.

“We will be tested early squaring off with Vellsville, Cal-Mum and Hornell in our first three games,” coach DeRock said. “That’s how we want it. Playing those tough teams week in and week out is the best way to prepare for the postseason.”

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