By John Torsiello
After a brutal schedule to start the season, the Granby girls basketball team ripped off three straight wins and took four of five games to reach the .500 mark.
The Bears had Avon, Bolton, Coginchaug and Lewis Mills among their first seven games, teams that have a combined 46-8 mark at this writing. Interspersed among those four games was a 50-18 win over Stafford. Granby has posted wins over Suffield, Stafford, Enfield, East Granby and Coventry, the latter a 51-34 victory that brought the Bears to 5-5 on the season and 5-2 in the North Central Connecticut Conference.
“We had one of the toughest schedules in Connecticut to start the season,” said head coach Dean Godin, “and they were all on the road. Playing those teams early, and being in those games up until the fourth quarter really helped our kids face and overcome adversity in some hostile environments.”
Krista Iwanicki has “really done a great job” of transitioning into the team’s point guard. “Her scoring is down from 10 points a game last year as an All-NCCC shooting guard. However, every other stat has improved. Her knowledge of the game and leadership skills have been essential to our growth.”
Julia Mazzotta has taken on the scoring load for the team. “She has worked hard at getting to the foul line, and continues to attack the basket, making her one of the highest scoring players in the NCCC. Many teams have tried box-and-one on her to take her out of the game, but she finds a way.”
Sam Bates stepped into a starting role after the Coginchaug game. “With one of our starters getting injured, Mariah Rocheleau, she has given us a steady ball handler and an additional scorer. Only a sophomore, she is starting to come into her own, and is one of the most gifted players in our league.”
Godin continued, “The leadership of our three seniors (Lauren Grashaw, Maddie Dixon, and Gabbi Stahl) has been huge. Each one of them has stepped up at different times defensively or with point production. In our biggest win to date, Suffield, they all had huge roles.”
The coach says one of the biggest reasons for the team’s recent success is continued offensive improvement.
“We started the first five games shooting 44 percent from the free-throw line and improved to 70 percent in the next six. Our field goal percentage has improved by 34 percent as well. Getting comfortable in new roles, adjusting offenses to our team, and continuing to play great defense has us on the right path.”