Wyoming East girls basketball coach Angie Boninsegna says her team “flew under the radar a little bit” last year.
That won’t happen this time.
East has four starters back from last year’s 22-2 team which lost in the state semis by one point.
And a group of promising freshmen provides enough depth that Boninsegna equates it to having “ten starters.”
Going into the season with high expectatins “will be different,” the coach observed. “We just want to keep improving and hope that at the end of the season we’re peaking.”
Depth, athleticism and more size figure to make WEHS a title contender in AA.
Sophomore all-stater Gabby Lupardus leads the way. She averaged 18.5 points, six steals and five assists per game last season.
The Warriors point guard “is very unselfish,” Boninsegna said. “She leads with her example”
In addition to her passing and driving skills, the coach says Lupardus “has improved her shooting and has a mid-range jumper.
“Her vision on the floor is unbelievable,” she added.
Lupardus led the team in points, steals and assists last season.
Junior guard Megan Davis is a strong defender.
“She does a lot of the little things that only coaches recognize,” Boninsegna commented.
“When Megan, Gabby and Misa (Quesenberry) are on the floor, the defense is pretty tough,” she noted.
Quesenberry “is very quick and last year she had a big three against Summers County when they were making a run at us,” said Boninsegna.
Junior Haley Butcher and sophomore Allie Lusk crashed the boards for East last season.
“They were a big key to our success,” stated Boninsegna. “They did a great even though they’re a little under sized.
Sophomore Kara Sandy averaged nearly 13 points per game last year and was the team’s top three-point threat. She wasd a third team all-stater.
Sandy is recovering from a knee injury but is expected to miss only a couple of games.
Her size and shooting ability make her a tough match up for most teams, Boninsegna noted. She can play at guard or forward.
Freshman Emily Saunders is 6-4 and provides East with size it did not have last year. “Emily is very coachable,” said Boninsegna.Sophomore Kendyl Johnson, freshman Jasmine Bailey (“a good shooter”) and Katie Daniels (” a good all-around player”) will all see plenty of playing time.
“When I take kids off the floor, I don’t lose much (because of our depth),” Boninsegna pointed out.
This year’s schedule has been beefed up.
WEHS will take on AAA South Charleston in the Hoops Classic and will play at Chapmanville in a single game event later this season.
The Lady Warriors will also play two games in a Kentucky tournament and will face AAA competition at the Big Atlantic Class in Beckley.
“We’re playing some tougher teams,” Boninsegna said.
East will be “road Warriors” this season. “We only have seven home games,” the coach noted.
The Lady Warriors beat seven-time Class A champion St. Joe in a scrimmage, a rare loss by the Huntington school to a West Virginia team
“If we play good, hard defense and rebound, we can compete with most teams,” Boninsega said.
John Conley can be reached at 304-732-6060 or on Twitter @PIHnews.