By Tom Robinson, NEPABasketball.com
The Susquehanna Lady Sabers return three all-stars and two more veterans who have already proven to be effective role players from a team that did not lose a game in Lackawanna League Division 4 play last season.
The biggest change for the Lady Sabers is on the bench when Kirk Fallon will make his head coaching debut after Errol Mannick, the NEPABasketball.com divisional Coach of the Year last season, left the program he built to take an assistant’s position closer to home at Lackawanna College.
“Coming off a banner year, we have set some lofty goals,” Fallon said. “With a lot returning, we are focused on improving on last year’s success.”
There were missing pieces within that success.
After winning division and District 2 Class A titles last season, Susquehanna enters the season with some unfinished business. The Lady Sabers won the first state tournament game in the program’s history two seasons ago, but never made it back to the state tournament because of an untimely loss in the District 2-11 Class A Subregional.
Taylor Huyck, Mackenzie Steele and Bethany Maby all return for their third seasons as starters to lead that pursuit. McKenzie Rhone also returns to the starting lineup while Mackenzie Heath is back after starting part time a year ago.
Juniors Huyck, who was picked by coaches as the division Player of the Year on their all-star team, and Steele were both NEPABasketball.com first-team division all-stars. Maby guard, a senior, was part of the five-player honorable mention list for the division.
Huyck has the height and speed combination to help all over the court. She was the team’s leading scorer, combining shooting range with driving ability, but also hits the boards and runs the floor. She averaged well over 14 points, 8 rebounds and 3 steals per game.
Steele, a 6-foot-2 forward/center, is a record-setting shot blocker who averaged a double-double in points and rebounds last season.
Maby joined Huyck in hitting more than a 3-pointer per game last season while falling just short of giving the team three players averaging in double figures in scoring.
Rhone, a 5-7 senior guard/forward, is a tough defender and rebounder.
Heath, a 5-5 junior guard, is a playmaking with shooting range.
Amanda Iveson, a 5-11 junior, and Geena Miller, a 5-6 junior who missed last season with injury, provide additional options in the frontcourt.
With sophomores and freshmen making up the rest of the lineup, the Lady Sabers may not have as much depth as the last two seasons. They graduated five players, two who were consistently in their top seven and two others who factored into Mannick’s deep rotation.