Section IV girls’ basketball is a tough and competitive sport on an annual basis. Even within the section, the IAC is a challenging field of teams battling for the top position. Entering the holidays one girls’ team has fired out of the gate to open and placed itself as the team to beat in the IAC and even the section.
The Newfield Trojans were left wondering what could have been after falling in the second round of last year’s Section IV tournament to the eventual state champions, the Delhi Bulldogs. A young Trojans team worked through the offseason and exacted its revenge on the Bulldogs in the opening game of the season, spoiling the championship celebration in Delhi with a 51-42 victory.
“Our first three weeks of practice coming into the season were really disciplined,” said Brandon Steinorth, the head coach of Trojans. “We wanted to show our best when we headed out there to start the season.”
The Trojans shocked the Bulldogs and with the payback, Steinorth said the experience was a sweet one for his team. “For us to walk in there and handle the day well and come out with a win, it made it a good trip home for us.” The opening victory was certainly a celebratory stamp in the infancy of the season, but the victory was more than just a tally in the win column. The win over Delhi ignited the Trojans to five more victories to start the season.
The biggest early test beyond the opening night matchup with Delhi came in a highly-anticipated showdown with the Odessa-Montour Indians who entered the game at 4-1. The game began as expected, with both teams battling back and forth for the lead. At the end of three-quarters of play, the Trojans and the Indians were locked up at 37-37. In the fourth quarter, the Trojans pulled away, scoring 14 points and almost completely shut down the Odessa-Montour offense, allowing only two points over the final frame.
Leading the way for the Trojans in the 51-39 win was sophomore Katie Moravec who tallied 27 points against the Indians. Moravec was one of the four freshmen who found themselves in the starting five a season ago. She, along with her sister Kelly, has proven instrumental to the success of the Trojans. “They were both really talented last year, and I thought they brought a lot to the table on both ends of the floor,” said Steinorth. “Both of them have clearly taken things to another level this year.”
Steinorth knows that Basketball is a family ordeal in the Moravec household citing the offseason work between Katie and Kelly and their older brother Greg, a former standout on the Trojans’ boys’ team.
The Moravecs are just two of the talented underclassmen, all sophomores, that make up nine of the 11 roster spots for the Trojans. The two upperclassmen on the squad, Brooke Tyskewicz, a junior, and Autumn Hunsinger, a senior, are active contributors to the great early run. The upperclassmen duo is looked to as leaders for the abundance of youth on the squad.
For the Moravecs and Jenna Goodwin, their success as sophomores comes as a culmination of the efforts to produce on the varsity team that started as eighth graders. “We put a lot on their shoulders when we brought them up to varsity as eighth graders,” said Steinorth. “We’ve found this comforting place where they are comfortable in their abilities and have been able to take the next step.”
Goodwin is certainly a young player that took that next step during last season and looks to continue her growth and contributions to the team. Last season, with Goodwin on the court, the Trojans went 8-3. Without her on the court due to injury, the Trojans recorded a 1-8 record. She represents just how important the young players on the team can dictate how this season will go.
After the early slate for the Trojans, there is little doubt that Newfield is a power in the conference and the sectional scene.
Prior to the short Christmas break, the Trojans powered their way past the Groton Indians to a 72-48 win. Newfield is now 8-0 and well recognized by county and sectional opponents as a strong contender for hardware at the end of the season.
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