NFA girls look to build on last year’s success
Newburgh girls basketball team went from a sub .500 season in 2010/2011 to being the second seed in the Section IX, Class AA playoffs this past winter, and Rich Desiderio, now entering his second year as coach, would like to repeat that success this year.
And he’ll be trying to do it without three players who helped the Lady Goldbacks reach the sectional Class AA semis last year. Sisters Kenisha and Tashalee Lawrence graduated, and Heavenly Rayford is no longer with the team.
But Desiderio will have Taylor Brummell, a senior, and Katie Cook, sophomore, at guards, Brittanny Littlejohn and Emily Cook, seniors, as forwards and Sarah Williams, a junior, back at center, and all five helped the team as it earned their playoff spot last year.
“They went from winning four games to playing in a sectional final four,” said Desiderio, of last year’s squad.
They started with a victory over Pine Bush, one of three during the season, and their physical series ended when the Lady Goldbacks lost to that team in the sectional semis. And along the way, they won and lost while being involved in a brawl with visiting Kingston.
There’s been a lot of off-season work and many additions to the bench, including Hannah Fleckenstein, a senior, who’s reached the state tournament both as a golfer and tennis player, and Victoria Colotti, a junior, who proved to be a tough, physical defender for the Lady Goldbacks’ soccer team.
“She made the team,” said Desiderio, of Fleckenstein. “She brings a great atttitude.”
Desiderio expects the season to be a challenge as the team gets ready to open the season during the 13th annual Corinne Feller Memorial Varsity Basketball Tournament this week at Valley Central with Wallkill and Valley Central and Pine Bush, both Class AA rivals.
“They’re a good group of kids,” he said. “They have a tough schedule. I think we’ll be prepared.”
By Bond Brungard