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Genoa wins: Albright has 18 in season-opening victory

November 28, 2012
Danbury High School

Genoa wins: Albright has 18 in season-opening victory

8:20 AM, Nov 24, 2012   


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GENOA — Coach Mike DeStazio sometimes refers to difficult or wild attempts to score as ‘hope like crazy’ shots for Genoa.

Two of Ciara Albright’s buckets had an extreme degree of difficulty as she scored 18 points Friday in the Comets’ 43-26 victory over Danbury in the season opener for both teams.

Albright scored high off the glass and later sank a baseline bank for a 34-15 lead after three quarters. She also connected with a slick reverse in the third quarter.

“I don’t know if that works with her,” DeStazio said of the phrase. “I don’t know how she does it sometimes. When it goes up, she’s got a chance.

“I expect her to dominate. Some of the shots she puts in … not many can put it off the glass like she does. I don’t take it for granted but it doesn’t surprise me.”

Albright ran back on defense with a huge grin as though she even surprised herself after the second circus basket, although DeStazio said she probably was looking for a foul call.

“I threw it up and hoped it would go in,” Albright admitted.

Albright is a focal point of Genoa’s offense but used her jumping ability to attack the offensive glass and her speed to chase down loose balls in also collecting a game-high 10 rebounds and giving Genoa extra possessions.

“Be aggressive and get rebounds, and it’s an easy bucket to go back up,” Albright said.

DeStazio likes Albright’s ability to anticipate.

“She’s a great athlete,” DeStazio said. “She moves for loose balls and rebounds – she doesn’t wait. She’s only 5(-foot-)6 but she rebounds.”

Genoa had six points off offensive rebounds as it outscored the Lakers 15-0 in the decisive second quarter for a 25-8 edge at the half. The Comets won the rebound battle 45-41.

“We want to do a better job rebounding (this season) because we’re not big,” DeStazio said. “Our defense created offense (in the second quarter). We got some steals. We set the tone in the second quarter.”

Haley Pickard had five steals in the game while Brynn Skilliter and Albright added three apiece.

“Haley’s in a situation where it’s more athletecism than skill as a freshman,” DeStazio said. “She’s a perfectionist. She plays great defense and is all over the place. She’ll get better and better.

“She started after playing eighth-grade basketball last season. Not many girls can say that.”

Skilliter added nine rebounds and two blocks, Katie Jensen had five rebounds and Chelsea Lavelle scored 12 points off three three-pointers for Genoa.

“We don’t need (Skilliter) to score,” DeStazio said. “We want her to be part of the offense but her role is to do what she did (Friday). She knows her role.”

DeStazio coached against Joe Fetzer, who returned to the head post on Danbury’s sideline after a previous stint from 1993-2003. Fetzer’s Lakers junior varsity team matched against DeStazio’s Woodmore boys several years ago.

“It’s great to be back,” Fetzer said. “Maybe a nine-year break was good. The officials said I’m more mellow.”

Danbury played without Kelsey Clemons, who injured her knee in the offseason and will miss the season. The Lakers will miss Clemons’ athletic ability and creativity.

“We’re disappointed she’s not with us but we’re focused on the 21 girls we do have,” Fetzer said. “They’ll have to step up and we’ll be better than we showed (Friday). I liked the effort but the execution needs to be better. It will take time but we’re optimistic.”

The Lakers’ seniors are playing in the third different system in their careers because of coaching turnover.

Megan Stephens had team highs of 10 points and nine rebounds, Erin Lavelle had seven rebounds, Stephanie Kukay six and Tori Wright five for Danbury. Cassidy Rhodes and Lilly Kennedy added three steals apiece.

“She’s a really hard worker every day in practice and it showed,” Fetzer said of Stephens. “As a sophomore, she can be a force inside. We look forward to her growing as a leader and player.”

Friday’s game was at the middle school as Genoa’s high school gym is being renovated to add seating. Otsego visits the Comets on Jan. 3 in the high school gym.

“We’re comfortable,” Albright said. “We all played here in middle school. It looks like there’s more fans with the smaller bleachers. It’s like old times reliving memories.”


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