STAMFORD — With Stamford High School hosting Trinity Catholic High Friday at 5:30 p.m., it will provide the first opportunity to assess what the intracity girls basketball rivalries will bring this 2018-19 season.
The annual Stamford Holiday Tournament, set for Dec. 27 and Dec. 29 at Stamford High’s Paul Kuczo Gym, will have Stamford High and Westhill High doing battle on the opening night. Kolbe Cathedral and Scarsdale (NY) will once again complete the tourney’s quartet of opponents.
One factor that Stamford High and Westhill High have in common is there is just one senior (Claudia Moses, Stamford; Grace Hansen, Westhill) on each school’s varsity girls basketball roster.
The abundance of youth among the Black Knights and Vikings displays the impact of the Stamford Youngtimers Girls Basketball Association and the Stamford Peace Foundation on the growth of the sport on the high school level in the city.
At Stamford High, returning junior guards Megan Landsiedel and Jessica Nelson as well as Moses were early Youngtimers graduates.
“The youth basketball program is about enjoying the game but working hard,” Landsiedel said after her 22-point, six 3-pointers performance in SHS’ season opening win over Wilton last Wednesday night.
Freshmen could have a huge effect on the Black Knights before this season is done. Charlie Karukas (eight points Wednesday), Leonora Lipson and Madison Lockery earned spots on the current SHS varsity roster.
Breanna Jacobs and Carly Diamond are other frosh who could join Stamford High’s group of six juniors on varsity.
“The youth basketball program in Stamford is great,” Stamford High’s veteran coach Diane Burns said. “The young players receive a lot of good teaching. They come to the high school level with a solid foundation of fundamentals.”
At Westhill, Hansen, a captain, and sophomore returnees Maddy Bautista and Peyton Hackett were standouts in the Youngtimers program.
Among the incoming freshmen with Youngtimers pedigree who could play roles for Westhill coach Katherine Begetis during this season include Olivia Conte, Audra Hansen, Kirsten Hallinan, Kylee Kurtz, Sophie Blomberg and Ruthie Price.